The rapidly widening ground between the GOP-controlled House of Representatives and the White House under President Obama over clean energy and green technology took another turn this week when the latter issued a scathing response to the former’s proposed 2012 Energy and Water Appropriations bill. This bill, if enacted, would severely impact the President’s various cleantech related funding initiatives.
The White House Office of Management and Budget, in a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) issued yesterday, blasted the House’s proposals, saying that “the Administration has concerns regarding the level of resources the bill would provide for a number of programs in a way that undermines core government functions, investments key to economic growth and job creation, as well as national security.”
The SAP specifically had the following things to say about cleantech related funding issues the White House has serious concerns over:
- Clean Energy Research and Development (R&D). The level of funding provided for R&D of renewable energy and energy efficient technologies would undermine the ability of the United States to develop a clean energy economy and create jobs for the future. By reducing funds for key programs including Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy, the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy program, and the Office of Science, the bill places at risk U.S. competitiveness in technologies and expanding markets such as electric vehicles and batteries, new “drop-in” hydrocarbon biofuels, cost-saving energy-efficient systems for homes and businesses, advanced manufacturing materials and processes, and cost-competitive solar energy and offshore wind power.
- Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program (Title XVII). The bill significantly reduces credit subsidy budget authority for the Title XVII Loan Guarantee Program, which helps finance renewable energy and efficient end-use projects. The bill also does not provide any additional loan volume authority for nuclear power projects or any of the requested funds for a new Better Building Pilot Loan Guarantee Program. These programs are an important part of the Nation’s efforts to deploy innovative clean energy technologies, and these reductions may slow progress toward a 2 clean energy future.
- High Speed Rail Balances. The Administration opposes the rescission of unobligated balances that have already been competitively awarded to projects across the country. These projects will create jobs and make needed improvements to the intercity passenger rail network. Rescinding funds now would significantly disrupt States’ planning and construction efforts, which count on their committed amounts.
Ironically perhaps, the SAP states at the end that “the Administration looks forward to working with the Congress as the fiscal year 2012 appropriations process moves forward.” Given the way the House has thus far been perceived by the White House as handling President Obama’s desires in the cleantech arena, we expect relations not to dramatically improve overnight, if at all.