Alliance to Save Energy Commends Bush Administration On Energy-Efficiency Budget; Urges Congress To Increase Funding to Enhance Energy Security
The Alliance to Save Energy today commends President Bush's fiscal year 2003 budget request for energy efficiency, noting that the administration has come a long way since last year's threatened 30 percent cuts in R&D. The proposed Department of Energy budget for energy-efficiency overall will remain roughly flat at $904.3 million, a 1 percent cut from current levels. The request for the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program will also remain relatively flat.
"At this time of increased public awareness of the link between energy security and homeland security," says Alliance President David M. Nemtzow, "energy efficiency remains the quickest, cheapest, cleanest way to reduce our nation's dependence on foreign oil and increase national security.
"Normally, this budget request for energy efficiency would be nothing to write home about," Nemtzow explains. "But we must look at the fact that last year's budget called for 30 percent cuts in energy efficiency R&D. And with many important federal programs slated for deep cuts in FY '03, this budget represents significant progress in recognizing the value of energy-efficiency programs."
The Alliance tempers its praise for the Bush budget by reiterating the need to increase energy-efficiency funding in the building, industrial, and transportation sectors, particularly in light of the Bush budget's 12 percent decrease for building R&D. Nemtzow also notes: "We are encouraged by Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta's signal that the administration is considering tougher fuel-economy standards for light trucks and SUVs, but we need to make sure that 'study' is not a subterfuge to avoid concrete action."
In that vein, the Alliance calls on Congress to build on the administration's vote of confidence in energy-efficiency programs by providing significantly increased funding levels. "The House-passed energy bill, H.R. 4, gives mere lip service to DOE energy-efficiency programs," Nemtzow says. "When the Senate acts later this month, we will be looking for stronger funding levels commensurate with our nation's energy security needs."