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article imageTrump turns his big guns on Energy Department with huge cuts

By Karen Graham     May 17, 2017 in Politics
Trump campaigned in coal country, promising jobs if he was elected. Well, that was a lie, especially now that his proposed budget cuts to the DOE have been announced. And forget renewable energy because he's cutting that budget to the bone.
With the President's ship of state sinking fast, Trump is still trying to "Make America Great Again," or so he says. A draft document of Trump's 2018 Department of Energy proposed budget was obtained by the press on Wednesday, and it is a real doozie.
Not only is the president proposing cuts of 54 percent to the DOE's fossil fuel office, but nuclear energy, which is one sector that really needs help, is also going to be hit with a budget cut of 31 percent. But wait, these are nothing compared to the Office of Renewable Energy. That budget is being cut by 70 percent.
Surrounded by miners from Rosebud Mining  US President Donald Trump (C) signs he Energy Independence...
Surrounded by miners from Rosebud Mining, US President Donald Trump (C) signs he Energy Independence Executive Order at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Headquarters in Washington, DC, March 28, 2017
The Office of Fossil Energy
Let's discuss the fossil fuel sector in this country. Donald Trump campaigned on the promise to bring back coal jobs, and this vow helped to get him elected. But it is now very clear that he has no plans to keep his commitments to Appalachian coal country.
The Office of Fossil Energy, within the Department of Energy, was allocated $618 million in the 2017 budget we are now working with. Under Trump's proposed 2018 budget, the Fossil Energy office is only going to get $280 million, if he has his way. The fossil Energy office uses the funds for supporting "clean coal" projects.
Clean coal efforts mainly involve working to capture the harmful emissions that come from burning coal and eventually burying them underground. The technology, called "carbon capture and storage" (CCS) has been around since the 1970s and is continually going through innovation as technologies surface.
With CCS technology, the U.S. has been able to successfully remove almost 90 percent of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions produced from the use of fossil fuels in electricity generation and industrial processes. We have also become adept at transporting CO2 by pipeline or ship to safe storage areas where the gas is then stored in selected geological rock formations located several miles below the Earth's surface.
The Peterhead Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) project in  Aberdeenshire   UK.
The Peterhead Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) project in Aberdeenshire, UK.
Penn Energy
Trump's proposed budget for the DOE clearly shows he has no interest in helping the failing coal industry, and based on his proposed cuts to nuclear energy, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and transportation sectors, he doesn't give much of a hoot about them either.
Jeff Erikson of the Global CCS Institute was quoted by Quartz as saying: “Money for the energy department is not spending, it’s an investment. Industry has seen repeatedly that the department’s support is crucial for technology development.”
Cuts to energy efficiency and renewable energy
Actually, the DOE's budget cuts under the proposed draft that will be introduced next week, are steeper than expected. Trump wants to cut 70 percent of funding to the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy offices within the DOE. This means that funds for these two offices would drop from $762 million in 2017 to $160 million in 2018.
 The number of people working in the renewables sector could reach 24 million by 2030  more than off...
"The number of people working in the renewables sector could reach 24 million by 2030, more than offsetting fossil-fuel job losses and becoming a major economic driver around the world.," says the IRENA report.
EDF Report
This move would be the epitome of Trump's malevolent goal of burying anything that even looks like it may be something from the Obama era, primarily because renewables and their growing support by industry, businesses and most Americans are tied into the environment.
The renewables offices support research, development, grants and more for the purpose of developing and deploying energy efficiency and renewable technologies. They have also played a role in getting the costs of wind, solar power, and other technologies dramatically reduced. However, GOP lawmakers feel the departments are a waste of money and seem to favor renewables over other types of energy.
And the 31 percent budget cut to the Office of Nuclear Energy is perplexing, to say the least. While the mainstream press is reporting the office has a significant budget cut to deal with, a closer look shows the budget will increase funding to certain Idaho National Laboratory nuclear defense programs.
The expansion of the Vogtle Power Plant in Georgia is already four years behind schedule.
The expansion of the Vogtle Power Plant in Georgia is already four years behind schedule.
Westinghouse Electric Co.
This means the cuts will be seen in research and development projects. Not only that but internally, the DOE has the right to redistribute the monies to eliminate certain programs in favor of others, according to the Post Register.
Additionally, $120 million has been reserved to restart licensing activities for Yucca Mountain, the Nevada nuclear waste repository that was tabled by the Obama administration. The Yucca Site has become a political hot-potato again after it was defunded and dismantled under Obama because of fierce opposition to the site.
And it looks like opponents are already gearing up for another battle. “The Trump administration will clearly have to get their technical ducks in a row if they are going to restart the license application process,” said Edwin Lyman, an internationally recognized nuclear power safety expert and senior scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, an organization founded in 1969 that advocates “truth in science … for a safer world.”
More about Budget cuts, department of energy, Renewables, Fossil fuels, Trump
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