President's FY '05 Budget Request Recognizes That Energy Efficiency Programs Help Ensure U.S. Energy Security, Boost Economy, Says Alliance to Save Energy
Alliance Comments on President's FY '05 Budget Request
“We are pleased that President Bush recognizes that federal investments in energy efficiency yield important economic, national security, and environmental returns, particularly at a time when many domestic programs are being cut,” said Kateri Callahan, president of the Alliance to Save Energy , upon the release of the President's fiscal year 2005 budget request to Congress today.
“At the same time, we call on Congress not only to reverse proposed budget cuts to the critical energy efficiency programs slated for reductions, but also to increase their funding above last year's levels,” stated Callahan. “We cannot afford to cut funding for programs that educate consumers and industry and help move new, energy-efficient technologies into the marketplace.”
The Alliance supports President Bush's call for FY '05 funding increases for low-income weatherization and hydrogen fuel cell research. The Alliance also applauds the President for specifically identifying funding for the successful public-private partnership Energy Star program in a footnote in the Environmental Protection Agency's budget. The lack of clarity in earlier budgets has plagued this program at EPA, and this move by the Administration is a positive step. Every federal dollar spent by the EPA on Energy Star cuts energy costs an average of $75 and sparks $15 of investment in new efficiency technologies.
However, the budget also proposes cuts in funding to some nationally important energy efficiency programs such as equipment standards, state energy programs, and the federal energy management program – programs that deserve increases, not budget cuts. A 2001 National Research Council study found that 17 U.S. Department of Energy research and development programs directed at energy efficiency returned nearly $20 to the U.S. economy for every dollar invested.
“With natural gas prices through the roof, oil imports rising, and large parts of the country remaining in the grip of a bone-chilling, energy-demanding winter, now is the time to increase our nation's investments that return natural gas, oil, and electricity savings,” said Callahan. “Energy efficiency must be the cornerstone of our nation's energy efforts – these investments offer paybacks in jobs, lower energy costs, and clean air.”