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White House Wants to Slash 72% From Renewable Energy Programs

The White House is expected to call for drastic cuts in funding for the Energy Department’s renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, according to a draft of the forthcoming budget obtained by the Washington Post.

The proposed budget asks for $575.5 million in funding for these programs in fiscal year 2019, compared to $2.04 billion the previous year, a reduction of 72%.

Everything from fuel efficiency initiatives, grants for renewable companies, training programs for solar workers, research into cost efficiency, and research into new technologies, and much more would be heavily cut, according to the Post.

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In 2017, the administration’s attempts to slash these programs were thwarted by Congress, and it’s possible that this will happen again, the Post reports.

A source familiar with the proposed budget told the Post that money from these programs would be redirected to nuclear energy, an initiative favored by Rick Perry, the Department of Energy’s director.

White House officials declined to speak with the Post about the rumored cuts.

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However, the signal is clear — the administration is continuing its shift away from renewable energy and sustainability in favor of fossil fuels.

During the recent State of the Union address, President Donald Trump praised “beautiful, clean coal,” but did not mention renewable energy or climate change.

On Jan. 22, the White House added a 30% tariff to foreign-made solar panels, despite protests from solar industry representatives who said it would dampen business.

And over the course of 2017, the Trump administration began to dismantle the Clean Power Plan, announced a withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, enabled fossil fuel drilling on public lands, opened protected waters to drilling, scrubbed climate change information from federal websites, and enacted various other moves meant to slow the progress of renewable energy.

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The proposed budget cuts would reduce the number of federal workers in renewable energy and energy efficiency programs from 680 to 450, continuing the administration’s “purge” of scientists and researchers dedicated to climate change-related issues.

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