GOP Cuts Target Clean Energy, High Speed Rail

The House Appropriations Committee under Republican control has laid out a plan to cut some $74 billion from the federal budget for the current year, and despite President Obama’s insistence that “winning the future” requires big investments in energy, transportation, technology and basic science, those areas would hardly be spared.

Take high-speed rail, where the administration just said it would ask for $8 billion in 2012 funding: the Republican leadership takes a $1 billion whack out of a 2011 plan that calls for almost $2.5 billion in spending. And various energy efficiency and renewable energy programs face a cut of $889 million.

High speed rail, California High-Speed Rail

image via California High-Speed Rail Authority

The Department of Energy’s Office of Science – which bills itself as the single biggest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the country – would see a cut of $1 billion from a 2011 request to Congress for $5.1 billion. The Department of Energy Loan Guarantee Authority – a key program for renewable energy developers – would be slashed by $1.4 billion.

While the president and most of his fellow Democrats see many of the targeted programs as investments and job creators, Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said the cuts that will be contained in the next continuing resolution to fund the government are a response “to the millions of Americans who have called on this Congress to rein in spending to help our economy grow and our businesses create jobs.”

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

  • ZachM

    People, that’s $1.4 out of a proposed $53 billion over six years.

    Btw, how could the creation of national high-speed rail not create jobs? And wouldn’t it be awesome to travel 160-350 mph by land to your destination for the price of a train ticket ($22-33)??
    …also, the Cato Institute’s calculation that the taxpayer would be subsidizing each ticket roughly $68 is based on the money required to build the infrastructure, which would be offset by the overall benefit this technology would provide to our economy, living standard, and mobility (power to organize).

    For this, I say GObama!