For GOP: No Shortage of Stones

February 2, 2018

As a sage observer noted, ” We did not leave the Stone Age because we ran out of stones.”

Astounding that, as renewable energy has become one of the most popular government programs across the political spectrum, that a GOP congress captured by the global fossil fuel industry, as well as the Gas powered Russian Oligarchy, continues to try to force the world back to the 19th century.

Washington Post:

The Trump administration is poised to ask Congress for deep budget cuts to the Energy Department’s renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, slashing them by 72 percent overall in fiscal 2019, according to draft budget documents obtained by The Washington Post.

Many of the sharp cuts would probably be restored by Congress, but President Trump’s budget, due out in February, will mark a starting point for negotiations and offer a statement of intent and policy priorities.

The document underscores the administration’s continued focus on the exploitation of fossil fuel resources— or, as Trump put it in his State of the Union address, “beautiful clean coal” — over newer renewable technologies seen as a central solution to the problem of climate change.

The Energy Department had asked the White House for more modest spending reductions to the renewable and efficiency programs, but people familiar with the process, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share unfinished budget information, said the Office of Management and Budget had insisted on the deeper cuts.

The cuts would also be deeper than those the Trump administration sought for the current fiscal year but was unable to implement because of the budget impasse in Congress. The federal government has been operating on a series of continuing resolutions that have maintained existing spending. The current continuing resolution expires Feb. 8.

Spending for the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) is set at $2.04 billion for the current fiscal year, which ends Oct. 1. Last year, the administration asked for st $636.1 million, a decline of more than two-thirds, although Congress did not implement the request. For 2019, the administration’s draft proposal would lower that request even further, to $575.5 million.

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

“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.

Energy Department spokesperson Shaylyn Hynes said in an email that “anyone who questions this Administration’s commitment to an all-of-the-above energy approach simply look at our record.”

She said that “though it may not fit into the narrative of the environmental lobby and their pundits, the truth is that Secretary Perry believes that there is a role for all fuels—including renewables–in our energy mix.”

It is unclear whether the document represents a final budget proposal or will be subject to last-minute negotiation and revision.

Utility Dive:

Rebuked by Congress on its 2018 budget, the White House appears set to double down on plans to slash clean energy funding at DOE.

According to a document obtained by the Post, the Trump 2019 budget proposal, due out this month, would cut EERE funding by nearly three-fourths and reduce the office’s staff to about 450 from 680 today.

Electric vehicle research would take an especially big hit, the Post reports, cut to $56 million from the current $307 million level. Fuel efficient vehicle research would be cut 82%, bioenergy funding by 82% and solar funding by 75%.

It is unclear, the Post notes, whether the document is a final proposal or a draft, but its release prompted swift criticism from clean energy groups and some federal lawmakers.

“Clean energy has been one of the biggest job-creators over the past decade, and investment in these critical technologies are driving down energy costs to businesses and consumers,” Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said in a statement. “Now is not the time to slash funding for this promising research.”

Congress is unlikely to approve the budget proposal unchanged. Last year, lawmakers from both parties criticized the White House’s plan to reduce clean energy funding, and in May Congress struck a government funding deal that reversed many of the deepest cuts sought by the White House.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), head of the energy and water subcommittee on the Senate Appropriations Committee, stressed to the Post that the White House budget is merely a proposal for Congressional lawmakers to review.

“The president suggests a budget, but, under the Constitution, Congress passes appropriations bills,” Alexander said.

Martha’s Vineyard Times:

With today’s political climate in Washington, D.C., so polarized, it may seem like liberals and conservatives have hardly anything in common. But there’s at least one point on which the overwhelming majority of residents and businesses in Massachusetts agree: We should accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy.
Massachusetts residents from all walks of life overwhelmingly support increasing the use of renewable energy like solar and wind. According to a poll conducted by WBUR and MassINC in 2015, 88 percent of Southeastern Massachusetts residents want to see more of our energy come from solar power, and 77 percent would like to see more wind energy.
It’s not surprising that clean energy enjoys such broad support. Solar and wind power projects are helping clean our air, protecting our health from dangerous pollution, creating hundreds, if not thousands, of local jobs, and preventing the worst impacts of global warming, including destructive sea level rise and ocean acidification.
Around the world, government officials, business leaders, and ordinary citizens are realizing the benefits of switching to renewable energy. More than a hundred of the world’s leading companies have pledged to get 100 percent of their energy from renewable sources, including IKEA, Johnson & Johnson, Amazon, and General Motors. In fact, Google sourced 100 percent of its electricity from renewable resources in 2017.
The Netherlands and France recently announced that their countries would end the sale of gas-powered cars by 2040, and switch to electric vehicles, while Norway will sell only electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles by 2025. Other European countries are also preparing similar initiatives.
And Boston University recently announced a commitment to get 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by the end of 2018.
Here on the Cape and Islands, we’re fortunate to have strong leadership from businesses, nonprofits, and local officials working to transition our region to 100 percent renewable energy. This fall, dozens of political and business leaders, including our state representatives Senator Julian Cyr and Representative Dylan Fernandes, came together at the Cape and Islands 100 Percent Renewable Energy Summit in Oak Bluffs to strategize for accelerating our local transition to renewable energy.

Columbus Dispatch:

Some prominent Ohio Republicans are sparring over renewable-energy policy, with each side claiming to represent conservative Ohioans.

This started on Jan. 10 when the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum, an advocacy group, published poll resultsshowing that a majority of self-identified Ohio conservatives are in favor of policies that support wind, solar and other renewable energy sources.

Two days later, House Majority Leader Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, sent a mass email criticizing the poll. He is a leading critic of renewable-energy mandates and subsidies.

“The wind lobby is ramping up its minions to tout a new ‘statewide poll’… purporting to show that conservatives ‘overwhelmingly support clean energy policies,’” he said.

He described the group as “astroturf,” a derisive term for an organization that is concealing ulterior motives.

One by one, he responded to claims made by the poll results, including the core premise that conservative voters overwhelmingly support clean energy policies.

“You bet” they support clean energy, Seitz said in response. “But mandates are not a conservative’s way of getting there. True conservatives use their own money to further policies in which they believe.”

The Ohio Conservative Energy Forum, the group behind the poll, is led by Mike Hartley, a lobbyist who has worked on Republican campaigns for decades, including those of U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Upper Arlington, and Gov. John Kasich. The group started in 2015 and says it supports all forms of energy, from traditional Ohio sources, such as coal, to renewable sources, such as wind and solar.

On Monday, Hartley sent an open letter to Ohio General Assembly members in response to Seitz’s message.

While beginning by calling Seitz “a tremendous legislator and a very honorable public servant,” the letter continues to say that Seitz “is not aligned with the values and priorities of Ohio conservatives on clean energy policy and its many economic benefits just waiting to be realized.”

Hartley uses some of the poll results to back his point of view, such as the fact that 79 percent of self-identified Ohio conservatives say “they would tell a Republican candidate to support policies that encourage energy efficiency and greater use of renewable energy in the state.”

He notes that the pollster, Public Opinion Strategies, has also done work for the campaign arms of Ohio House and Senate Republicans and has a strong track record.

“I have been working to elect conservative candidates and advance conservative policy in Ohio for nearly 20 years,” he said in the open letter.

“It is unfortunate that Rep. Seitz has chosen to assert that this poll and my efforts to promote it are part of some sort of liberal plot. But I am encouraged and empowered by my fellow conservatives to continue pushing for the economic benefits that await Ohio when we embrace forward-looking clean energy policy.”




4 Responses to “For GOP: No Shortage of Stones”

  1. Sir Charles Says:

    Electric vehicles? Why not give Microsoft the monopoly for vehicle software? That would take all vehicles off the roads. Immediately.

  2. Sir Charles Says:

    They’re claims you might expect from a YouTube troll, not the leader of the country that produces some of the best climate science research and data in the world. It would be easy to laugh them off as Trump’s usual buffoonery, but he should be held to a presidential standard…

    => It’s not okay how clueless Donald Trump is about climate change

  3. dumboldguy Says:

    We may not have left the stone age because we ran out of stones, but we are surely leaving the age of rationality because of a shortage of brain power—-Trump is the POTUS and the Repugnants are in control of the government. Can we stone them since they don’t seem able to think rationally?

    PS Has anyone noticed the many shades of irony in this week’s actual “train wreck” involving a collision between a chartered Amtrak train full of Repugnants and a truck full of garbage in VA? The train was carrying the Repugnant members of Congress off to a retreat at the Greenbrier in WV—-a rather posh and expensive place 250 miles from DC. A train full of garbage thinkers meets a truck full of actual garbage, and what was strewn across the landscape and what was strewn inside the train after the wreck were hard to tell apart. Of course, there was minimal injury to any of the privileged on the train, but one of the 99% in the truck was killed and another severely injured—–figures..

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