Proposed EPA cuts aim for the jugular of clean and green
The White House announced plans on February 28th to reduce the EPA’s budget by 25%. This alone was enough to raise nervousness among fervent supporters of the organization, which includes the entire renewable energy industry.
Half a month later, the word on the street is that 25 percent was a lowball estimate. Recent projections have it at closer to 31%; also eliminating the DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) and making budgetary cuts to the department itself. As noted, this would also be a follow-through on promises made by the current administration to chip away at what it has called “the administrative state”.
The new figure of 31% is startling, but also somewhat anticipated. The administration’s plan calls for the discontinuation of funding for the “Clean Power Plan, international climate programs, climate research and partner programs and other related activities.” In short, the new EPA headed by Scott Pruitt is shaping up to be a much different branch than the original agency which preceded it.
Under the budget, the Department of Energy would see its 2017 budget reduced to $1.7 billion, a 5.6% cut. The plan also includes making unspecified cuts to the DOE’s office on energy efficiency and renewables. Meanwhile, the budget would allocate $120 million to restart licensing activities for part of a separate division of the DOE—a nuclear waste storage facility at Yucca Mountain, Nev.—and would “initiate a robust interim storage program.”