"Budget Reality Trumps Energy Security Rhetoric"
While Bush talks a good game on energy security, he doesn’t back the rhetoric up with action. That is especially true when it comes to his own budget, as made clear in a press release from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy:
President’s Budget Undermines Energy Security
Washington, D.C. (February 6, 2007): The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) today issued a preliminary assessment of the Administration’s FY 2008 budget request, finding that the request continues to shrink funding for the energy efficiency programs that should be front-line priorities in the nation’s energy agenda.
“The President can’t increase our energy security by continuing to cut the clean energy budget,” said Acting Executive Director Bill Prindle. “This request should be dead on arrival in Congress, because it cuts 2007 spending for efficiency and renewables by 16%, and the efficiency budget alone could fall by up to a third.”
The total FY 2008 request for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) at the Department of Energy is $1.236 billion. The funding level of FY 2007 for EERE is $1.473 billion based on Congress’ recent continuing resolution decision. Thus, the request represents a $237 million (16%) cut from 2007 levels.
The request also sacrifices important efficiency programs to fund a few Administration priorities. For example, low-income weatherization is cut $98 million, industrial efficiency programs $13 million, vehicles technologies $3 million, and federal energy management $3 million in order to support increases in hydrogen ($59 million), solar ($66 million), and biomass ($90 million). The request also cuts about $46 million from distributed energy systems in the Office of Electricity budget. All of these comparisons are from 2006 levels as DOE’s program allocation for the 2007 budget has not yet been released.
The vehicle technologies program is the home of work to move forward on hybrids and diesels, and to increase heavy truck efficiency. These are the steps that can move us toward oil security in the next decade, yet the Administration proposes no additional funding for the program.
“Efficiency is the first fuel in the race for energy security,” Prindle added. “If we don’t get our energy demand under control, none of the President’s or anyone else’s clean energy proposals will be able to catch up.”
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing energy efficiency as a means of promoting both economic prosperity and environmental protection. For information about ACEEE and its programs, publications, and conferences, contact ACEEE, 1001 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Suite 801, Washington, D.C. 20036-5525 or visit http://aceee.org.