Fossil fuels are being favored in the newest bill from the U.S. House of Representatives appropriations subcommittee. Determining the Department of Energy’s funding for 2013, the new bill shows a drastic decrease in the renewable energy sector while fossil fuel research and funding increases. This obvious shift from clean energy to fossil fuels is a huge hit to the planet and the renewable energy industry.
Millions of years are required to form fossil fuels like coal, natural gas and oil. Yet these are not renewable resources and they are being depleted faster than they can be created. This is one of the many reasons why countries around the world are looking for renewable energy alternatives. Renewable energy typically refers to clean energy such as wind, geothermal and solar.
President Obama made note in June 2010 that “the transition to clean energy has the potential to grow our economy and create millions of jobs — but only if we accelerate that transition.” He pointed out that clean energy could be the spark to help the United States recover from this economic recession. The President hopes to generate 80% of the nation’s electricity from clean energy by 2035.
With the new bill Obama had requested that all forms of energy be used and an increase of 30 percent to the DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). However, this latest bill from Capitol Hill shows the favoring of fossil fuels over clean energy in the numbers. Unless the full appropriations committee revises the bill it appears that fossil energy research, advanced biofuels research and shale oil research programs will get more of the budget.
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development quickly consented the move back to fossil fuels. The bill passed with no opposition in a voice vote. This was after hearing about 15 minutes of statements from lawmakers.
Although favoring the bill Representative Norm Dicks (D-WA) shared his doubts about the slashes to the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. “These efforts are vital to our nation’s innovation in the energy sector,” he said. Instead, Dicks suggests the funding for energy efficiency projects will need to be more innovative on a local level with the states.
The funding of the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) will receive 17% less in fiscal 2013 compared with fiscal 2012 to $1.5 billion. Clean energy technologies, such as solar, wind, and energy efficiency are going to be affected with less backing for research and development. It was said that this would be taken from research and development of those closer to deployment.
On the other side, fossil fuels will be receiving $500 million for applied advanced biofuels research, $195 million for electric vehicle research, $34 million for other fossil fuel energy research and $25 million for a new shale oil research program. This is among other things, and the subcommittee also continued funding $544 million for the Office of Fossil Fuel. This is $207 million above last year’s amount with research and development for the advancement of fossil fuels, including; oil, natural gas, coal, and other fossil energy technologies.
The main concerns of the subcommittee were focusing taxpayer dollars to some of the more persistent national concerns. This includes the rising price of gasoline, America’s economic competitiveness, and nuclear security. There is also $25 million planned for Yucca Mountain even though President Obama closed the site.
With global temperatures and gas prices continuing to climb, renewable energy is still a priority for the government, but it’s unclear how high of a priority. Obama believes clean energy could help relieve our dependence on foreign oil and remove our forces from politically unstable regions. In addition, it could help rebuild our economy with thousands of new jobs. Clearly, a large segment of the political class doesn’t agree.
George Zeed works for ImpactBattery.com. An outdoorsman and environmentalist. George writes about topics related to recreational vehicles and accessories.