GOP slashes clean energy funding

House Republican appropriators have slashed renewable energy funding by 27%, or $491 million to $1.3 billion – approximately $1.9 billion below what the Obama administration had previously requested.

As expected, environmentalists, unions and Democrats expressed outrage over the decision, stating it would negatively affect the ability of renewable forms of energy to become competitive in the market.

“It says a lot about the priorities of this Congress that they would protect billions of dollars of oil company subsidies while gutting investments in clean energy alternatives,” said Jeremy Symons of the National Wildlife Federation.

“Big Oil wants our kids to be as hooked on expensive oil as we are today, and clean energy investments are the only way to break the addiction.”

To be sure, the above-mentioned legislation – which the Appropriations Energy and Water panel moved to full committee on Thursday – cuts $97 million in solar energy funding, fuel-efficient vehicle technologies by $46 million and vehicle technology deployment by $200 million.

Although Obama’s Office of Management and Budget said it does not have a position on the controversial bill at this stage, Democrats harshly criticized the cuts.

“Renewable energy programs in this bill are drastically reduced. We can debate whether renewable energy is an environmental program, and whether it is a market problem,” stated Rep. Ed Pastor (D-Ariz). “In either case, it is a national security problem.”

But Energy and Water subcommittee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) defended the reduction in funds.

“The highest priorities are protected by supporting the Department of Energy’s national defense programs, and by preserving activities that directly support American competitiveness, such as water infrastructure and basic science research.

“These priorities are balanced by reductions to applied energy research and other areas in which the private sector is most likely to act without federal support.”

[Via The Hill]