U.S. budget boosts coal and nuclear power
Bush's budget request Monday cut funding for renewable energy, but increased spending for science.
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"In the face of rising energy costs, it is absurd that the President would propose to reduce help for the poorest energy consumers and to do less to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse emissions of low-income households."
Other critics point out the difference between the president's recent State of the Union message and what he's willing to spend. Said Kateri Callahan, president of the Alliance to Save Energy, in a press release:
"The president called for continued US leadership in developing energy-efficiency technologies and in using energy efficiency to help reduce greenhouse gases, Yet [Bush's] budget request confounds the president's own rhetoric by reducing funding for key energy-efficiency and research and development programs...."
In an election year, it's not surprising that members of Congress are pushing local and regional issues – corn-based ethanol in the Midwest, oil and gas in the Rocky Mountain states – in federal spending plans to be crafted on Capitol Hill.
"As Senate Democrats push ahead with legislation to blunt a possible recession, they are trying to get support for tax breaks for wind-farm developers, builders of more efficient appliances, and businesses that install fuel cells. It is unclear whether there is sufficient GOP support to make the incentives part of a stimulus package.... But the proposed benefits for green energy mark another advance for an industry that is becoming one of the darlings of Democratic-controlled Capitol Hill."
The administration's budget request also cuts $202 million for public transportation and transfers about $3.2 billion in public transit money to highway projects. Says William Millar, president of the American Public Transportation Association, in a press release:
"The Administration proposal would reduce the balance in the Mass Transit Account to the point where, absent new funding, the federal transit program could not be funded in 2010 at even the current level."
On one thing everybody agrees: Production of federal budget documents this year – four hefty volumes totaling more than 2,000 pages – gives a break to carbon-absorbing forests. The Wall Street Journal reports.
"In years past, the White House's Office of Management and Budget distributed about 3,000 copies of the budget free to media outlets, congressional offices, and elsewhere in the capital. This year, those folks must buy a printed copy or access one free online. The change is expected to drive down demand for hard copies of the budget, sparing an estimated 20 tons of paper, or 480 trees...."