Statement of David M. Nemtzow, President, Alliance to Save Energy, on the Proposed Bush Energy Budget Cuts
Cuts in Clean Energy Could Not Come at a Worse Time
The Administration's proposal to cut energy efficiency R&D by more than 30 percent - even as they declare an 'energy crisis' - could not come at a worst time for American consumers and businesses. Faced with sky-high heating bills, increased gasoline prices, and new prospects for electricity shortages, the nation needs to invest more heavily in energy efficiency, which remains the cheapest, quickest and cleanest way to lessen energy problems and extend energy supplies.
"Specifically, the Administration is targeting the Department of Energy's energy efficiency and renewable energy research and development (R&D) budget. These programs focus on improving energy efficiency in buildings, transportation, and industrial processes, and help bring new highly efficient and clean energy technologies into the marketplace. We commend their proposal to increase funding for low-income weatherization by $120 million. But if the proposed cuts in the other clean energy programs are allowed to stand (cuts in buildings sector energy efficiency research by 45 percent and energy management at federal facilities by 48 percent), then efficiency programs that currently save consumers more than $25 billion each year, lessen oil imports, and prevent the emission of millions of tons of pollution would be gravely threatened.
"A responsible and realistic energy plan is one that addresses needs for new energy supplies with decreasing energy demand. The Administration's energy budget proposals - combined with their review and potential rollback of energy efficiency standards for central air conditioners, clotheswashers, and water heaters which save money, lessen pollution and improve electric grid reliability - contrast starkly to efforts by Republican and Democratic Members of Congress to develop comprehensive and balanced energy policies.
"Energy efficiency must be the cornerstone of any energy budget and of any successful energy strategy. Now more than ever the nation needs balance to help us through our energy problems."