Media Release

Global Climate Big Winner in Budget Deal

Release Date: Wednesday, October 21, 1998

Washington, D.C., October 21, 1998--The negotiations between the Clinton Administration and Congressional leaders over an omnibus fiscal year 1999 spending bill yielded solid gains for research and development of energy-efficient technologies.

Contained in the mega-deal was an agreement to add $60 million to the Interior Appropriations conference funding of $631 million dedicated to energy-efficiency programs at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The agreement goes a long way toward restoring the cuts of nearly one-third that the programs sustained three years ago.

Also included in the deal is an added $10 million for climate programs at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is expected to go to EPA's Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV). EPA's Energy Star and Green Lights programs were funded at last year's level of $72.5 million.

EPA's authority to research, evaluate and develop strategies to address climate change could have been prohibited had the House version of the bill been passed. Compromise language, which accommodates EPA's existing climate change programs, was crafted in the final version of the bill.

"We must pursue a Manhattan Project-style effort of developing energy-efficient technology if we are to effectively address climate change," said Alliance to Save Energy President David M. Nemtzow. "The budget deal takes a large step in that direction."

Total energy efficiency funding for DOE jumped to $692.3 million, an $80 million increase over the FY98 level of $611.7 million.

"The Administration really stepped up and showed that their stance on climate change is not just empty rhetoric. They fought hard and won,"" Nemtzow said of the deal. "The willingness of Congressional negotiators to allow these increases is the result of the increasing support for the programs on Capitol Hill, and a growing realization that the technology path to addressing climate change is preferable to a regulatory path."

Nemtzow singled out a few key officials for praise. "Katie McGinty and Wesley Warren at the Council on Environmental Quality, as well as Jack Lew and T.J. Glauthier at the Office of Management and Budget played key roles in achieving a significant step forward for an energy-efficient and environmentally sound future for the nation.

"In addition," Nemtzow continued, "many supporters from both parties in Congress such as Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Jim Jeffords (R-VT), and Reps. Jon Fox (R-PA) and David Skaggs (D-CO) set the stage for the deal."