House slashes funding for clean energy, restores funding for fossil fuel research

Republicans targeted a Massachusetts wind project and social cost of carbon.

by Mark Hand, ThinkProgress
July 28, 2017 

Rep. David McKinley (R-WV), left, sponsored an amendment that restored fossil fuel research funding to its 2017 level of $668 million. CREDIT: AP Photo/Zach Gibson

The House of Representatives voted Thursday to approve a large spending bill for fiscal year 2018 that slashes clean energy spending and approves keeping fossil fuel research at current levels.

In a spending package known as the “minibus,” the House voted to set the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) budget at $1.1 billion, a 45 percent cut from the office’s fiscal 2017 budget of more than $2 billion. The Trump administration requested an even bigger cut for the Department of Energy office that would have lowered its budget to to $636 million, or 70 percent, below the 2017 budget.

The funding measure passed 235–192, with five Democrats voting for, five Republicans voting against, and six representatives abstaining. It still needs approval from the Senate before it passes into law — a thin possibility, given the largely partisan House vote.

Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) succeeded in getting an amendment passed that restored the government’s fossil fuel research funding to the FY17 level of $668 million. The Trump administration had sought a 55 percent cut in the DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy Research and Development.

Meanwhile, funding for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, which helps develop and commercialize new energy technologies, was eliminated.

Several Democrats proposed amendments to keep clean energy funding at current levels by taking funds out of the budgets for fossil energy, military or nuclear weapons spending, but all of the amendments were defeated by the Republican-controlled House.

» Read the full story



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