House poised to cut clean energy funding

US Capitol Building 

Library of Congress

The US House of Representatives is poised to gut clean energy programs as they prepare to vote on their Energy Appropriations bill for the coming fiscal year.

This bill would set a budget, with limits for individual programs, for how the Department of Energy spends its money starting October 1, 2013. This normally routine business is something that both the House and the Senate do every year. But if you have been following politics lately, nothing is routine anymore (except the House cutting funding for clean energy and environmental programs…that’s been sadly routine). This time around the House of Representatives is prepared to cut programs within the Department dedicated to clean energy research, innovation and deployment, as well as overall energy efficiency.

Overall, the bill cuts the amount of money for renewable energy requested by President Obama in half. This would be disastrous for our clean energy future, slowing or stopping investment in projects and innovative new research. The bill would also cut energy efficiency measures that have been proven to work. Energy efficiency is one of the easiest ways to cut energy use – less use means less pollution from energy consumption, and helps consumers save money on energy bills. We also know that saving energy through energy efficiency saves lands.

Furthermore, while harming our nation’s ability to transition to a clean energy economy, the bill would also increase the amount of money spent on fossil fuels like coal and natural gas. This kind of backwards thinking has caused the United States to continually be stuck on fossil fuels, rather than embracing renewable energy.

With President Obama promising action on climate change, we know that clean, renewable energy should be the future. However, in order to make that future a reality, we need to be investing in new energy technologies and how to deploy them responsibly. By cutting money that could go there, we are ensuring that our brightest minds will not have the funds to come up with great new ideas. The House of Representatives should rethink their current approach and fund our energy future appropriately.