Clean Energy Funds Slashed in Proposed Trump Budget

In the proposed 2018 budget that Donald Trump recently submitted to Congress, clean energy programs were cut back drastically from last year’s funding.

The direct clean energy funding cuts included major cutbacks at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). There were also increases in funding for several programs related to fossil fuels.

The DOE saw a cut of 43% from its FY 2017 budget of $4.4 billion for “energy and related programs.” That leaves only $2.5 billion in that category when FY 2018 begins. Within those line items are the following:

  • Energy efficiency and renewable energy programs: Cut by 65% from FY 2017’s just under $2 billion. The remaining $696 million will be focused on “early-stage R&D on energy technologies, includ­ing new approaches to energy storage beyond current battery technologies.” That definition does not leave much room for focus on advances in al­ternative renewable energy concepts.


  • Loan programs and the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) programs: Terminated except for “maintaining monitoring of the existing loan portfolio and overseeing existing awards to completion.” This is from an agency that has had 74 project teams working on advanced develop­ments since it was formed in 2009.



  • Fossil energy R&D: Increased by $81 million, 19% more than last year’s $421 million. This is to be used for programs that “improve the reliability and efficiency of advanced fossil-based power sys­tems.”



  • Nuclear: Cut by 25.5% ($259 million) from last year’s budget of $1.016 billion. It will be used to “revive and expand the U.S. nuclear energy sector through early-stage R&D.”


For the corrupt industry-controlled EPA, the new $5.4 billion proposed budget represents a 34% cut from the FY 2017 budget. As justification for the major cuts in this important protective oversight agency, the White House says, “The budget eliminates many voluntary and lower-priority activities and programs and invests in process improvements and other operational en­hancements to bring greater efficiency and cost-ef­fectiveness to the work of the agency.” It goes on to explain further that part of the reason for the lower budget needs is because the “EPA is also in the midst of implementing sweeping regulatory reforms. The President’s Executive Orders 13771 (Reducing Regu­lation and Controlling Regulatory Costs) and 13783 (Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth) are guiding the agency to find new approach­es to protecting the environment and human health while also ensuring consideration of economic securi­ty, as consistent with law.”

The Sierra Club decoded this government speak into more accurate words, saying that among the EPA cuts are major slashes to the overall “staff and life-saving programs.” Those programs include very important past ones such as the Climate Change Research and Partnership Programs, the Indoor Air and Radon Programs, and the Marine Pollution and National Estuary Programs. In a press release issued by Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, he said, “Trump’s budget is a statement of his priorities, and this budget demonstrates that he could care less about protecting clean air, clean water, public health or our public lands.” He said further: “This is a shameful, ideological document that represents the extent to which Trump has fully given himself over to corporate special interests above all else. Congress must act to protect the critical programs Trump wants to cut by unequivocally rejecting this rigged budget. Any member of Congress that backs draconian cuts like these is failing to represent the American people and may find they need to start updating their resumé very soon.”

Other public interest groups dedicated to helping preserve the nation’s environment made similar comments. The president of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), Ken Kimmell, labeled the 2018 budget “an assault on the vital role that federal scientists perform in gathering information that we need to make good public policy.”

Christy Leavitt, campaign director for Environment America’s Defend Our Environment, said in a press release that the proposed funding plan would mean “more pollution and fewer environmental protections for Americans.”

The budget ignores the safety and health of all living things to benefit a very wealthy individuals and obsolete industries.

With less R&D available for energy efficiency and renewable energy options, it will put the United States competitively even further behind countries such as China, which is investing heavily to become the strongest in the world in the field of inexpensive renewable energy or European countries, like Denmark, which are poised to become some of the best-positioned in the area of wind power and Germany which is well on its way to generating nearly all of its power from renewable energy and on some days produces a surplus.

Cheap green power means lower power and health care costs and a more vibrant economy.

Wind and solar power are vastly lower in economic cost than natural gas, coal or nuclear power and are infinitely less damaging to the environment and human health. The wind and solar industries also employ far more people than the fossil fuel industries, at least they did until Trump imposed obstacles to green energy and expanded needless taxpayer handouts to the oil, gas and coal industries.

With green energy being the obviously intelligent choice, why does America continue to choose the most dirty, damaging and expensive energy sources that cripple the country?