Trump's new budget targets Rick Perry's Department of Energy for massive cuts

02 February, 2018, 00:37 | Author: Bert Pena
  • Shannon Phillips

President Trump will seek almost three-fourths cuts to federal renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, according to White House budget documents obtained by The Washington Post.

The document also suggests substantial staff cuts, down from 680 in the enacted 2017 budget to 450 in 2019.

The Washington Post got their hands on a budget draft coming out of the White House, which details Trump's vision for the Energy Department (hint: it doesn't include much clean energy). But the Trump administration will significantly lower that amount to $575.5 million for 2019, the Post reported.

Electric vehicle research would take an especially big hit, the Post reports, cut to $56 million from the current $307 million level.

The administration asked for cuts in both programs for the current fiscal year, but the budget impasse in Congress stalled those discussions. The Weatherization and Intergovernmental Programs Office (WIP) is part of DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's "all of the above" national energy strategy to create greater energy affordability, security, and resiliency.

"It shows that we've made no inroads in terms of convincing the administration of our value, and if anything, our value based on these numbers has dropped", said one EERE employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the internal budget information.

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The budget proposals are expected to be released on February 12, 2018.

People familiar with the matter tell the Post the Energy Department requested more modest spending cuts, but was overruled by the Office of Management and Budget. The Trump administration asked for a budget of $636.1 million previous year, a almost 70% reduction, but Congress balked.

The Energy Department did not return the Post's request for comment, and the White House declined to respond, citing its policy of not commenting on leaks.

The draft suggests cutting research into fuel-efficient vehicles by 82 per cent, bioenergy technologies by 82 per cent, and solar energy technology by 78 per cent. "Instead of leading the charge on the nation's fastest-growing employment sector - wind and solar power - the administration is rushing to surrender America's leadership on clean energy".

This is the second year Trump has targeted clean energy spending.

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