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Government Power Republicans United States Politics

White House Seeks 72 Percent Cut To Clean Energy Research (engadget.com) 390

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Engadget: The Trump administration has made it very clear that it is pro fossil fuels and has little interest in pushing programs the promote renewable energy. Now, the Washington Post reports that the president's proposed 2019 budget slashes funds for Energy Department programs focused on energy efficiency. While the proposal is just a jumping off point, the fact that it seeks to cut such funding by 72 percent underscores where the administration's interests lie and in which direction its policies will continue to go. The draft budget documents viewed by Washington Post staff showed that the president is looking to cut the Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) budget to $575.5 million, down from the current $2.04 billion level. Included in the budget cuts are funds for programs researching fuel efficient vehicles, bioenergy technologies, solar energy technology and electric car technologies. Additionally, the draft budget proposal seeks to cut jobs, dropping staff levels from 680 down to 450. One EERE employee told the Washington Post, "It shows that we've made no inroads in terms of convincing the administration of our value, and if anything, our value based on these numbers has dropped." The report notes that the Energy Department had requested less extreme spending cuts, but the Office of Management and Budget pushed for the more substantial ones found in the draft proposal. It's also worth noting that the proposal could still be changed before being released in February.
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White House Seeks 72 Percent Cut To Clean Energy Research

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  • Related: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2018 @06:26PM (#56043933) Journal

    https://news.slashdot.org/stor... [slashdot.org]

    This administration is determined to make the USA more like a third world country.

    • Re:Related: (Score:5, Funny)

      by ChunderDownunder ( 709234 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2018 @06:31PM (#56043977)

      Make America a Shit-hole Again. :)

    • Re:Related: (Score:5, Funny)

      by niaxilin ( 1773080 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2018 @07:01PM (#56044195)

      This administration is determined to make the USA more like a third world country.

      This administration is determined to make China look more like a first world country.

    • by ugen ( 93902 )

      That already happened.

    • Re:Related: (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 31, 2018 @08:18PM (#56044681)

      No. Whatever state the country is in it cannot be laid at Trump's feet after being in office for one year. The state of the nation is the end result of all of Trump's predecessors. The largest contributing factor to any downturn in the country can be laid at the feet of those who don't have a fucking clue about how the three branches of government actually work. The executive branch wields the least amount of power when it comes to making any meaningful changes in the country. If you are going to go protest something at least target your protest to the fuckers causing all the problems. The no term limit legislative branch combined with no limits on the amount of money can be funneled into it's members would be a damn good place to start. The legislative branch has created their own brand of internal government that go out of their way to limit the amount of transparency as possible. They have rules protecting themselves from public investigations of their conduct. This branch of government also controls the government purse which they use to payback their campaign donors.

      The budget numbers leaked are only a starting point on the negotiations and the President cannot unilaterally impose his budget on the country. Only Congress has that power. The use of renewable energy in the country has been increasing every year for the past 15 years. Fossil fuel use has declined. Understand these figures have absolutely nothing to do with the government. Outside of renewable energy tax credits the government is contributing very little to the process. Any research efforts paid for by the government is nothing more than corporate welfare. Any research brought to market will not generate any government profits. The research will most definitely benefit the corporations who use the government funded research to slash there own R&D efforts. The government doesn't build anything. At most they are the worlds largest general contractor that doles out billions of dollars to their campaign supporters.

      And those who have made billions of dollars in the fossil fuel industry are the same people positioning themselves to do the same thing with new energy markets in the future. The largest contributors of R&D investments for alternative energy sources are the top fossil fuel corporations in the world. The people running those companies are not stupid. Up until now it has been easier to generate fortunes in the fossil fuel sector while the profits for renewable energy sources are just know becoming a viable and profitable sector. No silly International bullshit environment treaties are going to magically create a cleaner environment. It is the rising profits in the commercial renewable energy industry. Electric vehicles will replace fossil fuel vehicles when the technology matures. Right now the 300 mile re-charge barrier, high vehicle costs, and the lack of a public and convenient recharging infrastructure will keep the number of electric cars from becoming a serious consumer choice.

    • I believe you are mistaking the current Administration for the prior administration of Bill Clinton.

  • Train Wreck (Score:4, Funny)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2018 @06:31PM (#56043979) Journal

    I saw something earlier today about a "GOP train wreck". Is this connected to that story, or does it just refer to the Republicans more generally?

    • Re:Train Wreck (Score:4, Interesting)

      by networkBoy ( 774728 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2018 @06:43PM (#56044059) Journal

      It's a train wreck. Freight cars full of GOP everything. I assume this is part of it, but really this administration appears determined to undo *everything* the previous administration did for no other reason than it was done by the previous administration. Seriously, if there was ever a POTUS that the tee shirt slogan "Go away or I will replace you with a small shell script" was apropo for, this appears to be it.

    • It is God's way of playing with symbolism. Just like when Trump tried to pose with a bald eagle and it decided to attack him.

    • by shess ( 31691 )

      I saw something earlier today about a "GOP train wreck". Is this connected to that story, or does it just refer to the Republicans more generally?

      I think it was a GOP trainwreck which happened when they hit a garbage truck. I'm not aware if the garbage truck was on fire at the time.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The Democrats might be bought and paid for, but at least their sponsors are leaders for the 21st century instead of the 19th.

  • by subk ( 551165 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2018 @06:36PM (#56044021)
    This is probably not a big deal, IMHO. Sure, some groups will be stymied by the lost of tax breaks and grants. But let's face it; solar and wind are going to become cheaper than fossil fuels in the long term anyway (hell, it's a dead heat right this minute) and we won't need government funding for renewables to propagate. In fact, I would rather the feds just get out of the way.
    • possibly, but as I understand it this will severely impact fed research grant $$ too (like more efficient solar cell tech and such). That is something that industry will also do, but at a much slower pace without incentive.

    • Your claim that

      solar and wind are going to become cheaper than fossil fuels in the long term anyway...

      is an important contention.

      In this age of corporations petitioning governments to interfere in markets on their behalf, unless its boosters are more powerful than entrenched energy interests, alternative energy is only likely to flourish if it becomes economically competitive. Or bettter than competitive.

      As energy use increases, it become more likely to raise in price; thus there is pressure to use less or improve efficiency. As long as there are no market distortions, like petroleum subsid

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This is probably not a big deal, IMHO. Sure, some groups will be stymied by the lost of tax breaks and grants. But let's face it; solar and wind are going to become cheaper than fossil fuels in the long term anyway (hell, it's a dead heat right this minute) and we won't need government funding for renewables to propagate. In fact, I would rather the feds just get out of the way.

      The big difference is whether you want the patents on the technology to be owned by U.S. or Chinese companies.

      I'm fine either way. Are you? The people against renewables tend to hate China... it's weird that they're effectively ceding technology leadership to China. I'm not sure if they realize they're doing it.

    • by Nemyst ( 1383049 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2018 @08:47PM (#56044855) Homepage
      Public research allows fundamental research (where motivations like profit are not viable). Private research fine-tunes fundamental research into a marketable, efficient, easily manufactured product. Both are necessary for healthy R&D.
    • This is probably not a big deal, IMHO. Sure, some groups will be stymied by the lost of tax breaks and grants. But let's face it; solar and wind are going to become cheaper than fossil fuels in the long term anyway (hell, it's a dead heat right this minute) and we won't need government funding for renewables to propagate. In fact, I would rather the feds just get out of the way.

      The point of fundamental research isn't to make money from today's technologies but to establish the science that will drive tomorrow's. If the US doesn't lead the way to innovation, it risks getting left behind while the EU, China, and others surge ahead and start profiting from selling and licensing new technologies to the US.

    • This is about WHO get it to make those tech cheaper : " Included in the budget cuts are funds for programs researching fuel efficient vehicles, bioenergy technologies, solar energy technology and electric car technologies" if you cut research that means you leave the lead to future technology to others. If it was cut on promoting solar or whatever I would agree with you, but this seem to be cut on research. As for "i would rather than the fed get away" be wary of what you are asking for : some fundamenta
    • "I would rather the feds just get out of the way."

      Indeed! america, go ahead and step aside. Plenty of countries are dying to lead in these fields!

      you had your turn, now give others a try. Very progressive and very unlike you! Maybe that trump will end up being the best thing yet for countries not the usa. USA out of everywhere, and everything!

      Then in a few years, you can claim "unfair dumping of subsidized technologies", slap a tariff on them, and make your market less and less attractive. (This then makes

  • by Rick Schumann ( 4662797 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2018 @07:13PM (#56044259) Journal
    What Trump and the GOP are calling "Make America Great Again" is just a re-branding of "Bring Back the Good-Old Days". They want to turn back the calendar to some decade before the 1960's, in every way that matters, and this is just a small part of that agenda. Take a look at how America was, socio-politically, in the 1950's and before, and you'll get an idea of the hell-hole they want to drag us back to.. but I diverge. This is one of the most retarded things Trump has done. Of course it probably won't have any effect on industry, since the energy industry as a whole has some actually intelligent people working for it who see that fossil fuels' days are numbered and that other sources are going to be necessary if we want to continue having a civilization; the only real effect this will have is to further prove that Trump and his cronies aren't living in the Real World and are not fit to lead. We won't be 'making America great again' by being left behind by the rest of the industrialized world; we sure as fuck won't be impressing anyone when the likes of China passes us up because our so-called 'leadership' has it's collective head up it's collective ass like this.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 31, 2018 @08:43PM (#56044833)

      Military spending is twice what it should be as a percentage of GDP - look at 1940 just before the war [usgovernmentspending.com]. Then shit got real and we spent 40% of GDP for WW2. Imagine what would happen if the US spent $7.89 trillion on war. That'd be a freakin' space opera.

      A true "Bring Back the Good-Old Days" policy would cut DoD spending to $291.35B instead of increasing it to $639.1B - a $347B difference or 53% of the deficit. $650B in cost cutting or revenue increases needs to happen to stop the debt from growing. If each tax bracket was increased by 5%, the gap would be closed and the budget would be balanced. To actually pay the debt off, you'd need to raise 6.1 times current annual revenue in excess of spending. It can be done, but needs to be done as a 50 year plan to not wreck the economy. Politicians are incapable of long-term planning.

    • It wasn't a hell hole back then. And the people were a lot better. And those people are the ones that made the social changes happen. It's been downhill the last 20 years. Your comment that "Of course it probably won't have any effect on industry...." is a great reason for a government with $20T in debt shouldn't be spending money there.

    • by theCoder ( 23772 )

      This is one of the most retarded things Trump has done. Of course it probably won't have any effect on industry...

      So, in your own words, not spending 1.5 billion in tax payer money won't have "any effect", doesn't that imply that the spending was itself wasteful? If private interests will pick up the slack, shouldn't we be saving that money to spend somewhere else where it is more needed? Maybe that money could be spent improving infrastructure? Or other research? Or just plain not spending as much so

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Those times weren't even the "good old days", at least not for most people. Female, non-white, gay, transgender, disabled... Basically anything other than healthy straight white male sucked to be back then.

  • by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2018 @08:01PM (#56044575) Journal
    Seriously, we need to add a lot more geothermal and SMR nukes (not the gen 3/3+ crap from toshiba, etc) that are affordable, clean energy, and will provide base-load power, as opposed to wind/solar. Do not get me wrong. Both of these are needed and will continue. States are backing solar, and wind is ready to drop all subsidies on anyways.
    As to dropping EV subsidies, Tesla has always begged for it since all of their competitors have NEVER used it correctly. And they are correct. Those subsidies SHOULD have been used on 150 MPC EVs and not on 75 MPC/hybrids which then charge in the daytime increasing demand and then pushing coal plants.
  • "we've made no inroads in terms of convincing the administration of our value" is exactly the reason for being cut. Burning money for 4 decades without progress means something is wrong, we still don't have "clean energy" and most "clean(er) energy" innovation hasn't happened in the US.

  • !! BOO HOO !! (Yay!) (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheRealHocusLocus ( 2319802 ) on Thursday February 01, 2018 @08:10AM (#56046625)

    Hidden in the WaPo article is an (alleged source) punchline,

    One source familiar with the negotiating process, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to freely describe what the person had learned, said that the budget request had been lowered after negotiations with the Office of Management and Budget, and may have been lowered further because of a desire to channel more funding toward nuclear energy, a favored subject for Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

    It's funny that so many of the folks who see Russian Bots everywhere and also happen to promote utility wind and solar, FAIL to spot the 'natural gas bots' in their midst. If there is a future for modern civilization at the present level of convenience -- which is code for "nobody has to die" -- it is through clean, safe nuclear energy with a ~300 year low volume waste profile [slashdot.org]. See that link for more rant.

Mausoleum: The final and funniest folly of the rich. -- Ambrose Bierce

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