House Committee Boosts DOE Budget In Draft Funding Bill

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The House Appropriations Committee has unveiled draft funding bills that seek higher clean energy-related budgets than requested by President Donald Trump.

For the draft fiscal year 2020 Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies funding bill, the committee proposes investing $46.4 billion in energy and water development programs, representing an increase of $1.8 billion from fiscal year 2019. This funding, according to the committee, is focused on “addressing climate change, improving infrastructure and upholding our commitment to strengthening national security.”

Importantly, for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in particular, the bill provides a total of $37.1 billion, an increase of $1.4 billion above the fiscal year 2019 level and $5.6 billion above the president’s budget request.

For the DOE’s energy efficiency and renewable energy efforts, the bill provides $2.65 billion, which is an increase of $273 million above the fiscal year 2019 level and $2.3 billion above the request. According to the committee, this funding provides for “clean, affordable and secure energy and ensures American leadership in the transition to a global clean energy economy.”

Regarding the DOE’s electricity efforts, the bill provides $200 million, representing an increase of $44 million above the fiscal year 2019 level and $17.5 million above the request. This funding seeks to “advance technologies to increase the resiliency and efficiency of the nation’s electricity delivery system with capabilities to incorporate growing amounts of clean energy technologies.”

At the same time, for fossil energy research and development at the DOE, the bill provides $740 million, which is the same as the fiscal year 2019 level but is an increase of $178 million above the request. This funding provides for “research, development and demonstration activities to ensure the safe, efficient and environmentally sound use of fossil energy resources.” In addition, for nuclear energy research, the bill provides $1.3 billion, which is an increase of $494 million over the request.

Marcy Kaptur, chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies, notes that the proposed legislation “rejects the president’s drastic, short-sighted cuts across the Department of Energy, Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation – all of which contribute to our nation’s economic prosperity.”

According to the nonpartisan group Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), the bill would “robustly increase funding levels for a variety of critical clean energy innovation programs housed at the Department of Energy, despite enormous cuts or elimination proposed by the Trump administration in its budget request.”

Grant Carlisle, advocacy director of E2, says, “One of the best ways for Congress to take action on addressing the climate crisis right now is to invest in Department of Energy innovation programs. DOE initiatives have lowered the cost of new energy technologies several times over – getting more renewable sources on the grid, making our homes, offices and schools more energy-efficient, and creating millions of new jobs across America. This bill is an investment in America’s economy that benefits all businesses, workers, and consumers.”

In addition, the draft fiscal year 2020 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies funding bill includes $37.28 billion, which is an increase of $1.73 billion over the 2019 enacted level and $7.24 billion over the president’s 2020 request. For the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, this funding bill provides a total of $9.52 billion, representing $672 million above the 2019 enacted level and $3.42 billion above the president’s request.

“Our Interior-Environment funding bill totally rejects the pro-pollution, anti-public lands, anti-environmental protection budget proposal submitted to Congress by President Trump,” says Betty McCollum, chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies.

The draft bills will be considered in subcommittee on Wednesday, May 15. The subcommittee markup will be webcast live.

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