Trump Wants to Cut Clean Energy. Congress, Fearful of Green Majority, Says yeah,..No

March 24, 2018

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Vox:

The $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill that needs to pass this week to avert a government shutdown increases spending on clean energy and keeps the Environmental Protection Agency funded at current levels.

That’s despite the White House suggestion that Congress cut EPA’s budget by one-thirdand make drastic reductions in clean energy research.

Tarak Shah, a former chief of staff in the science and energy office at the US Department of Energy, told Vox the bill was an “utter repudiation of the Trump budget!”

The EPA will keep its $8.1 billion budget with a few changes, including $66 million allocated toward the Superfund program for cleaning up highly contaminated sites.

The Department of Energy’s high-risk, high-reward research incubator, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E, can also breathe easy. Trump’s budget proposal recommended eliminating the popular program, but Congress gave it a $47 million boost up to $353 million.

The DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy office, which the White House wanted to gut by $1.3 billion, also got a 15 percent increase to a new total of $2.3 billion.

There are also a few strange energy-related riders: The bill declares biomass as a carbon-neutral energy source, though scientists are still debating whether that’s the case. Livestock producers are permanently exempted from the EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations, killing any efforts to keep them in check.

On balance, the spending bill (if it passes) signals that while the Trump administration is desperate to save American coal and eliminate environmental regulations, lawmakers from both parties still think that protecting the environment is a high priority and that clean energy is a worthwhile endeavor.

Federal agencies, however, have some discretion in how they spend the money Congress gives them, and some departments are dragging their feet when it comes to doing the work they’re supposed to do.

We’re already seeing grant applications and research programs being screened for references to climate change at the EPA, the DOE, and the Department of the Interior. The EPA has seen a decline in enforcement of rules against polluters, and lawmakers have complained that programs like ARPA-E have delayed or not issued the funding that they’re required to provide.

Washington Examiner:

Congress on Wednesday night released a fiscal 2018 spending bill that rejects Trump administration efforts to reduce funding for the Environmental Protection Agency and Energy Department.

After President Trump threatened to make massive cuts to the EPA budget, Congress decided to keep funding levels the same from fiscal 2017, at $8.1 billion.

Lawmakers decided to boost funding by $66 million for accelerating the cleanup of hazardous Superfund sites, a priority of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

The Energy Department, meanwhile, would receive $34.5 billion in the massive spending deal, a $3.77 billion increase over fiscal 2017.

That includes $2.32 billion for the agency’s energy efficiency and renewable energy division, a 15 percent increase. Trump, who has promoted expanded fossil fuel development, had sought to cut funding for that division.

The agency’s fossil fuels office would get $726.8 million, up $59 million from fiscal 2017 and an increase of $447 million above Trump’s budget request.

The Energy Department’s clean energy research hub, which Trump wanted to eliminate, also would see a funding increase.

Funding for Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E, is increased by $47 million for a total of $353 million. ARPA-E is a program with bipartisan support in Congress that funds innovations in energy technology, such as battery storage.

The Energy Department budget also emphasizes cyber security, which is a key focus of policymakers after Russia has tried attacking the nation’s power grid.

Cybersecurity efforts would get $248 million in the spending package, an increase of $18 million.

Sierra Club:

OAKLAND, Calif. – In new state polling conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research (GQR), Americans from five states across the country express strong support for generating 100 percent of electricity using clean, renewable energy like wind and solar.

The poll, released today by the Sierra Club, surveyed voters in five states: Colorado, Michigan, Ohio, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

According to the survey results, more than two-thirds of voters in each state surveyed support statewide goals of generating 100 percent of electricity by clean, renewable sources like wind and solar by 2030. Sixty-seven percent of Virginia voters,  sixty-eight percent of Colorado voters, and roughly seven in ten voters in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan support generating all of the electricity in their respective states with clean and renewable sources of energy.

“From the Colorado Rockies to the coast of Virginia, people across the United States are ready for 100 percent  clean and renewable energy,” said Jodie Van Horn, Director of the Ready for 100 Campaign. “Communities already see the benefits of clean energy and are ready to switch to cleaner, more affordable power like wind and solar. That’s why more than 50 cities nationwide have committed to 100 percent clean and renewable energy.”

61 cities across the country have already committed to transition to 100 percent clean and renewable energy. Counties and states are increasingly exploring a 100 percent clean energy transition, as well.

Other key findings from the polling include:

  • Most survey respondents are confident that their states can meet the goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2030. Fifty-six percent of Ohio voters, fifty-seven percent of Colorado voters, fifty-eight percent of Michigan voters, fifty-three percent of Pennsylvania voters, and fifty-five percent of Virginia voters say they believe this goal is realistic.
  • Over half of those surveyed in each of the five states say they would have a more favorable impression of an elected official who supports a goal of 100% clean energy.
  • Support for the goal of 100 percent clean energy also cuts across party lines. About two-thirds of both Republican women and ideologically liberal to moderate Republicans back this goal in Pennsylvania. Over 6 in 10 Republican and independent voters in Ohio support the goal

“State and local leaders across the country should take note: our most recent survey found that at least two-thirds of voters in every state we polled support transitioning to 100% renewable energy sources and a majority would feel more favorable towards a local official if they supported 100% renewable energy,” said Elizabeth Sena, partner at Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research.

See the individual state memos here.

UPDATE:

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Orsted:

We launch world’s largest survey of attitudes towards renewable energy. No less than 82% of the people interviewed favor a world fully powered by green energy. The support comes from all surveyed age groups, educational backgrounds countries and political segments.

And there’s every reason to go full speed ahead, says Henrik Poulsen, CEO of Ørsted:

“We’re at a tipping point. Green energy has become cheaper than black, and the newly released Green Energy Barometer shows an overwhelming public support for a shift from black to green. We owe it to the planet and to future generations to transform our energy systems from black to green. And with the economics and public opinion now supporting a shift to renewable energy, there’s no reason not to speed up the transformation.”

When we this year were awarded the Hornsea 2 offshore wind farm in the UK, it was at a price 63% lower than West of Duddon Sands in 2011. Hornsea 2 shows, that energy from offshore wind is now competitive with gas and coal.

Not just climate change – also a matter of growth and job creation

Concern about climate change is a major driver for support of green energy, with 69% globally being concerned about the impact of climate change. However, backing for renewables is also heavily rooted in a range of economic and societal benefits. More than seven in ten of those surveyed believe that it will boost economic growth and create new jobs if their respective countries were to build and produce more green energy.

 

 

 

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5 Responses to “Trump Wants to Cut Clean Energy. Congress, Fearful of Green Majority, Says yeah,..No”

  1. Sir Charles Says:

    Oh. The dictator signed the omnibus bill…

  2. stephengn1 Says:

    The good news is, we may have just figured out how to pass good energy policy.

    Stealth.

    This guy doesn’t read what he’s signing. Apparently neither does the “GOP” congress. So go ahead and anonymously sneak in clean energy riders into infrastructure bills while no one is looking.

    • Sir Charles Says:

      Tramp cannot read more than half a page. He Can hardly remember what happened during the day. That’s why lobbyists visiting the oval office have figured out they have the best chances to succeed when they belong to the last two visitors of the day. After 5-6 hours of “hard work” in his oval office Tramp enjoys watching Faux News on a big flat screen. That’s the way he’s making America so great again…


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