Earlier this month we took a look at what the GOP controlled House of Representatives Appropriation Committee has in store for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) budget by way of the proposed 2012 Energy and Water Appropriations bill. This legislation, which provides the annual funding for the various agencies and programs under the Department of Energy, including the National Nuclear Security Administration, Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, takes a pretty big swing at some of the DOE programs that support renewable energy such as loan guarantee programs and scientific research and development. It now appears that the bill, with some fresh new amendments added, appears to have been approved by the committee.
A statement recently released by the Appropriations Committee chairman, Hal Rogers, goes into some details about the amendments that were implemented and also spends some time taking shots at the Obama Administration’s use of funds from the previous budget cycle, criticizing some of the economic programs the administration has supported while defending budget changes under the auspices of public safety and energy security measures.
“The bill rightly prioritized programs with tangible effects on urgent public safety needs and our economic competitiveness,” states Rogers, who later added, “We’ve made smart and significant spending reductions in areas that have seen massive and unnecessary increases.”
Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen proposed two of the bill’s amendments, one of which provides $1 billion in emergency funding to the Army Corps of Engineers for relief efforts to flood victims and future disaster preparedness efforts. In a description of the amendment, the committee explains the source of the considerable funding allowance saying it was “offset by a rescission of the remaining emergency High Speed Rail funding that was originally approved in the failed “stimulus” bill.”
It is apparent that there are some hard feelings between the Appropriations Committee and the Obama administration evidenced by some of the language that has been used during the announcement and defense of this new budget legislation. However, the “massive and unnecessary increases” in funding that Mr. Rogers refers to is, in part, responsible for the largest growth in the solar and wind power industries ever recorded, according to recent reports from the Solar Energy Industries Association and the American Wind Energy Association-factors which many would argue contribute to economic growth and security.