President Bush proposes significant cuts for energy, natural resource, and environmental programs. The President’s most notable cuts in these areas include weatherization assistance, low-income heating assistance, hydrogen, solar, clean water, state and tribal assistance grants, leaking underground storage tanks, and fish and wildlife programs.
Department of Energy
Department of Energy. President Bush would cut funding for energy efficiency, renewables, and energy conservation by $467 million or 27 percent as compared to enacted Fiscal Year 2008 levels. In addition, the President’s proposed spending for research on technologies (including biomass and vehicles) that can reduce the consumption of oil would only slightly increase from $446 million versus the $411 million enacted in Fiscal Year 2008, despite the fact that America’s oil imports have increased by 15 percent since he took office.
Renewable energy. Spending at the Department of Energy (DOE) on renewable energy programs (hydrogen, biomass, solar, wind, geothermal, and water power) would decrease by $44 million when compared to the enacted 2008 level of $657 million. The Bush budget would eliminate the Production Tax Credit and the Solar Investment Tax Credit.
Energy efficiency. The DOE energy efficiency and conservation (vehicle, building, industrial, federal energy management program, and weatherization) programs would be cut by $201 million when compared to the Fiscal Year 2008 enacted level of $688 million. Funding for building technologies would increased by $15 million, but funding would be cut by $224 million for weatherization and inter-governmental activities.
Vehicle technology. The Bush budget proposes $221 millionfor DOE’s vehicle technologies research and development, a very modest increase of $8 million from the enacted 2008 level of $213 million.
Federal energy management. President Bush proposes $22 million for the Federal Energy Management Program, a modest increase from the $20 million appropriated for Fiscal Year 2008. The decision to keep this programs budget relatively flat, comes despite the fact that the Administration has decided that the federal government could be doing much more to curb emissions and save taxpayer dollars.
Weatherization. President Bush’s elimination of the weatherization assistance program would be most acutely felt by low-income American, many of whom live in homes that are the most energy inefficient and do not have the financial means to weatherize their homes.
Electricity deliverability and reliability. Funding for research and development of electricity delivery and energy reliability would be cut by three percent or $5 million from the 2008 enacted level of $139 million.
Fossil energy. The fossil energy research and development program would be increased by $11 million as compared to the $743 million enacted in Fiscal Year 2008. The Bush Administration has proposed to redirect its support for FutureGen after proposing a sixfold increase in funding for the project just last year. This reinvention of FutureGen comes despite longstanding DOE support for large-scale, industrial carbon capture and sequestration as well as newly-authorized research and development activities in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.
Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The Bush budget proposes to spend $188 million to maintain the current Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), and an additional $171 million to expand it to reach the Administration’S.1.5 billion barrel goal. The Bush budget proposes increasing funding for the SPR by $157million versus 2008 enacted levels.
LIHEAP. The Bush budget requests a $2 billion block appropriation for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), a $400 million cut from what is needed to maintain LIHEAP funding at the Fiscal Year 2008 level (excluding emergencies), adjusted for inflation. Since 2001, natural gas, electricity, and home heating oil prices have strained the pocketbooks of middle-class Americans. Since President Bush took office, the cost of heating a home with natural gas during the winter has increased by 90 percent (from $465 to $884), the annual electricity costs for an average American home have increased (by 18 percent from $972 to $1,148 ), and the cost of home heating oil has increased from $1.53 per gallon to approximately $3.30 per gallon today.
Rural energy (Section 9006 grants). The Bush budget would again eliminate renewable energy and energy efficiency grants for rural farmers and ranchers, despite the fact that high energy prices disproportionately impacts farmers and ranchers through increased gasoline, diesel, irrigation, and fertilizer prices.
Energy Star. Energy Star, a program dually administered by both the EPA and DOE, would be decreased by $4 million. The President has proposed cutting funding for EnergyStar, despite the fact that in 2006 the program saved the equivalent of the 25 million cars worth of greenhouse gas emissions.
Environmental Protection Agency
Environmental protection. President Bush’s budget would cut funding for the EPA by 4.4 percent ($330 million), to $7.14 billion in Fiscal Year 2009.
State and Tribal Assistance Grants. The Bush budget for State and Tribal Assistance Grants $2.62 billion is $315 million below the enacted 2008 level. The Bush Administration’s proposed cuts for these grants would weaken federal efforts to partner with state and municipal governments to improve vital environmental infrastructure projects like Brownfield redevelopment projects, which can create jobs and spur economic growth in local communities.
Drinking water. The Bush budget once again proposes $842 million for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, the same funding level as last year. The budget request for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund closely mirrors the enacted Fiscal Year 2002 level of $850 million, despite the fact that according to the American Society of Civil Engineers the country faces an annual need of an additional $11 billion to replace aging facilities and comply with safe drinking water regulations.
Wastewater. The Clean Water State Revolving Fund would be funded at $555 million, which represents a $134 million cut from the enacted 2008 level of $689 million. The proposed funding level for wastewater would not even meet the investment levels that a recent EPA study finds would be needed to control wastewater pollution more than $10 billion each year for over 20 years).
Superfund. Overall funding for the Superfund account would increase by $10 million over the 2008 enacted levels to $1.254 billion. During the Clinton Administration, the Superfund budgeted for an average of 87 site cleanups. Unfortunately, the Bush Administration has reduced that number to approximately 25. The Superfund budget cuts have impaired the ability of the EPA to collect information on the human health impacts of living close to Superfund sites (one in four Americans live within four miles of a site). The Bush budget also proposes that taxpayers–not polluters–be required to pay for administering the toxic waste clean-up program.
Brownfields. President Bush’s budget proposes $166 million for the Brownfields program, which represents a marginal increased from the $162 million requested by President Bush in his Fiscal Year 2008 budget. The Brownfield program allows the federal government to partner with state and local governments to help rehabiltate and restore property that has been contaminated by pollutants. The relatively flat funding would slow the financial benefits, including economic growth and job creation which have resulted from Brownfield redevelopment.
Environmental justice. The Bush budget proposes only $3.8 million for environmental justice, a 40 percent decrease from the Fiscal Year 2008 level. This relatively modest, but important, account helps to alleviate the adverse health impacts that pollution can have on minority communities.
Greenhouse gas registry. President Bush would eliminate the greenhouse gas registry’s funding ($3.4 million) for recording the amount of greenhouse gases currently emitted in the United States. The Bush Administration objected to this provision during the Senate’s consideration of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, even though it is necessary to gather this data in order to develop sound climate change policy proposals.
State and local air quality management. The Bush budget proposes a 14 percent cut ($31 million) for state and local air quality management grants. These grants are used by state and local governments to help meet our nation’s air quality particulate and ozone requirements.
Department of the Interior
Department of the Interior. The Bush budget for the Department of the Interior proposes a cut of $410 million, from $11 billion appropriated for Fiscal Year 2008 to $10.6 billion in Fiscal Year 2009.
Land and Water Conservation Fund. During the presidential campaign in 2000, President Bush pledged to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF); he has failed to fulfill that promise. The Bush Administration has proposed no increases for the $30 million LWCF budget. This is also the same amount appropriated two years ago.
Hazardous fuel reduction. The Bush budget proposes $203 million for hazardous fuels reduction programs. This funding level would provide for a modest increase of $3.2 million for hazardous fuel reduction programs through the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which received $200million for the Fiscal Year 2008. This anemic funding increase comes after more than 9 million acres burned in 2007.
National parks. Although President Bush promised to invest $4.9 billion to eliminate the maintenance backlog in the national parks. The backlog is now estimated to be significantly greater than it was in 2000.
Urban parks. The Urban Park and Recreation program, which provides grants to low income, inner cities for the renovation of urban parks and recreation facilities, would be eliminated.
Fish and wildlife. President Bush proposes to cut $3.6 million from the multinational species conservation fund. The Bush budget would keep funding flat for the National Wildlife Refuge System at $434 million and also cut funding for endangered species recovery programs by $3.6 million.
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The Bush budget includes a budget gimmick that assumes Congress will end its objections to oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and use those assumed revenues to finance additional spending. President Bush has included this budget gimmick in each of his budget requests but Congress has repeatedly rejected attempts to drill in ANWR.