Members of Congress oppose Trump’s EERE funding cuts

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138 members of Congress led by California's Eric Swalwell are urging the Trump administration to continue to give robust funding for the EERE. Source: Flickr/ttarasiuk

Californian Congressman Eric Swalwell and 138 other members have taken a stand against Trump administration plans to slash funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).

In a letter that urges strong funding for federal partnerships to secure the EERE, the coalition argues that the organisation plays a key role in advancing America’s ‘all of the above’ energy strategy – which includes the research and development of renewable energy innovation.

The mission of EERE is to create and sustain American leadership in the transition to a global clean energy economy. To date, EERE investment of US$12 billion has already yielded an estimated net economic benefit to the US of more than US$230 billion, with an overall annual return on investment of more than 20%.

Earlier this week documents surfaced revealing administration plans to cut funding for the EERE by 25% of its current budget; representing US$516 million for the remaining 2017 fiscal year. Before this measure can officially take effect, it would need to be cleared by Congress in a majority vote.

However, it is clear that not all members of Congress will be supporting the cuts. “…We believe this work done at DOE is critical to preserving our long-term safety and security,” the letter reads.

Asserting that funding for EERE “must be a priority” for FY 2018, the letter argues for the place of clean technology over fossil fuels – calling reliance on the latter “shortsighted”. It is no secret that president Donald Trump has pledged to end the ‘war on coal’ with plans to lift moratoriums on coal-fired plants and get rid of the Clean Power Plan as the latest priorities on his energy agenda.

“By prioritising funding for EERE, Congress will be signalling to our scientists and engineers at home and around the world that we are serious about rising to meet the growing demand for cheaper, more sustainable energy. By preserving our capacity to innovate, we will continue to reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy, enhance our competitiveness and create good American jobs well into the future,” the letter concludes, urging for “robust funding” for the EERE in FY 2018.

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