House Committee Funding Cuts Hurt Key Energy Efficiency Programs

Release Date: Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cuts Fly in Face of Committee Report Language

The Alliance to Save Energy deplored the House Appropriations Committee’s suggested Fiscal Year 2013 funding cuts which would waste the power of energy efficiency programs administered by the Department of Energy.

The Alliance asserted that the appropriations bill passed by the committee today will undermine the nation’s ability to use energy efficiency – and resulting monetary savings – to boost the economy, create jobs, save tax dollars and protect the environment.

And curiously, the House Energy and Water Appropriations Committee’s own report language provides justification for the programs, the Alliance pointed out.

Cuts Contradict Committee’s Report

“We strongly protest the House committee’s decision to slash funds for a number of foundational, cost-effective energy efficiency programs,” said Alliance President Kateri Callahan. “Ironically, the committee’s own report makes the case for why these programs deserve robust support.

“For example,” she said, “the full committee is recommending a $95 million cut in the Building Technologies program, even though the report notes that buildings account for more than 40% of the nation’s energy use, and that the program saves energy used both by the buildings and the equipment in them. In fact, some of these measures have been the most effective federal energy-saving programs. Cutting this program defies the committee’s own logic in their report.

Similarly, the full committee approved a $12 million cut below this year’s funding for the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP), which, as the report notes, uses energy efficiency “to mitigate energy costs of the federal government.”

“FEMP not only saves taxpayer dollars and extends domestic energy supplies,” Callahan said, “it also cuts CO2 emissions, reduces U.S. dependence on imported oil and creates jobs.”

Weatherization Could Suffer Historic Cuts

“Making cuts year after year to the Weatherization Assistance Program, which helps low-income Americans lower energy bills that they cannot afford to pay, is truly egregious,” Callahan said. “The House Appropriations Committee is now proposing to fund weatherization at the lowest level since the program’s 1977 inception. This is mind-boggling when Americans from coast to coast are struggling to pay their energy bills.” 

She continued, “We also protest the committee’s decision to slash 50% from the State Energy Program, which helps states undertake energy efficiency initiatives to meet the specific needs of their residents.

Industrial Efficiency Comes Out Ahead

The Alliance said that the House funding bill includes some bright spots, however, including for the Advanced Manufacturing Office (formerly Industrial Technologies Program), whose investments in R&D, technology deployment and technical assistance improve U.S. competitiveness by helping manufacturers improve energy performance and lower energy costs. 

“We are pleased that the committee has recommended an additional $34 million above last year’s appropriation in this area,” Callahan said, “continuing the recovery of funding for these important programs over the past few years. The increases include $2.73 million (22% more than this year) for technical assistance.

“Another positive note is struck for vehicle technologies R&D, for which the committee approved a $5 million increase over this year’s appropriation,” she added.  

Senate Should Restore Funding

“Overall,” Callahan concluded, “the House Appropriations Committee has taken a short-sighted stance on energy efficiency programs. We look to the committee’s Senate counterpart to reverse these harmful cuts and provide the American people and our economy, environment and national energy security the energy efficiency programs they deserve.”

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