32 Business and Environmental Groups Urge Congress to Restore Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Funding Proposed for Cuts by White House

Release Date: Friday, April 22, 2005

WASHINGTON, DC -- In a letter delivered today, thirty-two member groups of the Sustainable Energy Coalition urged Congress to restore funding the White House is proposing to cut in the U.S. Department of Energy's Fiscal Year 2006 energy efficiency and renewable energy (EE/RE) programs. The letter was sent to the Members of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives serving on the respective Energy & Water Subcommittees of the congressional Appropriations Committees.

Funding levels for most of the DOE's core renewable energy programs have been targeted for reductions including the biomass/biofuels, geothermal, hydropower, and solar energy programs. Collectively, these accounts would be reduced by nearly $24 million, not including another $4 million targeted to be cut from the Distributed Energy account.

Similarly, a number of the core energy efficiency accounts are also targeted for reductions. These include the Industrial Energy Efficiency program which would be cut by $18.3 million or 24 percent, the Energy Efficient Buildings program whose funding would be reduced by $7.5 million or 11% and the State Energy Program which would be cut by $3.2 million or 7 percent.

The letter argues that "at a time when the price of gasoline is exceeding $2 per gallon, a barrel of oil is over $50, and natural gas is more than $6/mmBtu, cut-backs in DOE's core EE/RE programs are truly penny-wise and pound-foolish."

"Further cuts will only increase U.S. vulnerability to energy supply disruptions, worsen fuel price volatility, and cause higher energy prices overall unnecessarily putting American citizens at economic risk over the short- and long-term, while also ceding lucrative energy efficiency and renewable energy product markets to other countries, such as Japan and Germany. These cuts will also undercut efforts to reduce US climate emissions, accelerate global warming, and thus make future efforts to stabilize global climate even more difficult if not impossible."

On the other hand, "when viewed as strategies for lowering energy costs as well as for reducing the greenhouse gas emissions tied to climate change and for enhancing national and homeland security, investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy are particularly low-cost and effective."

Consequently, the Sustainable Energy Coalition is urging the Members of Congress to at least double federal support for these programs over a five-year period. For Fiscal Year 2006, "at a bare minimum, [Congress should] restore funding to last year's enacted levels for those EE/RE programs being recommended for cuts, while accepting the President's recommended [increased] funding levels for wind, fuel cells, and renewably-based hydrogen."

####

The Sustainable Energy Coalition is a coalition of 85 national and state business, consumer, environmental, and energy policy organizations which collectively represent several thousand companies and community-based groups. Founded in 1992, the Sustainable Energy Coalition works to promote increased use of renewable energy and energy efficient technologies.