House panel submits RE funding cut

The Appropriations Committee in the US House of Representatives has proposed a federal government energy and water spending bill for fiscal year (FY) 2015 that includes a $113m cut in renewable energy programs from a year earlier.

Within the US Energy Department, the bill provides $1.8bn for renewable energy research and development and demonstration; $899m for nuclear energy, up $9.8m from a year ago; and $593m for fossil fuel technologies, a $30.9m increase.

Overall proposed funding for DOE energy programs is $10.3bn, an increase of $113m. In a statement, the committee says within this total, the bill prioritizes and increases funding for such programs that encourage economic competitiveness and that help advance the nation’s goal of an “all of the above solution to energy independence.”

About $5.1bn has also been included for science research and technology innovation including the next generation of clean energy sources.

“This basic research will lay the groundwork for more efficient and practical domestic energy solutions to help reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, and help promote future growth in American businesses and industries,” the committee says in a statement.

House Republicans have been critical of the administration’s energy spending but the overall $34bn energy and water package is only $50m below FY2014, and  $327m above what President Barack Obama has requested.

They have been reluctant to cut funding as some of it goes for programs in their districts.

It is being reviewed by an Appropriations subcommittee for any changes before being sent for a vote by the full 51-member committee. No date has been set for this to happen.

Much of the bill drawn up by opposition Republicans, which control the House and are a committee majority, would fund national energy nuclear weapons security programs, environmental cleanup of sites contaminated by previous nuclear weapons production and the Army Corps of Engineers, which maintains the nation’s waterways.