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Sustainable Energy Network

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FEBRUARY 7, 2006
9:52 AM

CONTACT: Sustainable Energy Network
Ken Bossong 301-588-4741

 
60 Groups Urge Congress to Reject White House Energy Budget Proposals for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency; Instead, Call for Funding up to Levels in 2005 Energy Policy Act
 

WASHINGTON - February 7 - In a letter sent today to the Members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Appropriations, 60 business, environmental, and faith-based organizations urged Congress to reject the White House Fiscal Year 2007 (FY07) budget request for the U.S. Department of Energy’s renewable energy and energy efficiency programs. Instead, they called for full funding of the cross-section of sustainable energy programs up to the levels authorized by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct).

The Administration is seeking increases for a few programs such as photovoltaics, biofuels, fuel cells, and hydrogen. Yet even these would be funded at levels below that authorized by EPAct while other core accounts such as geothermal, concentrating solar, hydropower, weatherization, and a number of energy efficiency programs would face deep cuts or be eliminated altogether. Accordingly, the groups view “the proposed cut-backs in the federal investment in sustainable energy research, development, deployment, and grants [to be] illogical, irresponsible, and a totally unacceptable strategic mistake.”

Citing the worsening problems of climate change, rising energy prices, and ever-greater energy imports, the groups wrote: “Options such as expanded oil and gas drilling, 'clean' coal, and nuclear power are, at best, long-term strategies that will offer no immediate or even near-term relief from the energy problems now confronting the U.S. Moreover, many of these technologies entail unacceptably high economic, social, and environmental costs that will limit, if not completely preclude, their use over the long term.

“The only energy resources that can provide any significant relief, both now and in the years ahead, are the mix of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies deployed to the maximum extent possible. Therefore, the deep cuts being proposed by the White House in the U.S. Department of Energy and other federal agency budgets for these programs should be rejected out-of-hand. Instead, Congress should not only restore program budgets for the core sustainable energy programs but also increase funding to the levels authorized by the recently-enacted Energy Policy Act of 2005.” *****

Members
Committees on Appropriations
U.S. Senate
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C.

Dear Senator/Representative:

We the undersigned business, environmental, consumer, energy policy, and other organizations are writing to urge you to reject the Administration's Fiscal Year 2007 budget request for the federal energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.

For a host of reasons, the proposed cut-backs in the federal investment in sustainable energy research, development, deployment, and grants are illogical, irresponsible, and a strategic mistake that is totally unacceptable.

Natural gas prices are at historic highs and unlikely to diminish anytime soon causing very serious problems for business and consumers alike.

Oil prices remain above $60 a barrel and are projected by the Energy Information Administration to remain at least at those levels into the far foreseeable future.

Petroleum and natural gas imports continue to climb upward contributing to record trade deficits while undermining the nation's security by increasing U.S. dependence on politically unstable energy-exporting countries.

Climate change is worsening - apparently at an accelerating rate - with 2005 being the warmest year on record and the United States continuing as the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

Options such as expanded oil and gas drilling, "clean" coal, and nuclear power are, at best, long-term strategies that will offer no immediate or even near-term relief from the energy problems now confronting the U.S. Moreover, many of these technologies entail unacceptably high economic, social, and environmental costs that will limit, if not completely preclude, their use over the long term.

The only energy resources that can provide any significant relief, both now and in the years ahead, are the mix of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies deployed to the maximum extent possible.

Therefore, the deep cuts being proposed by the White House in the U.S. Department of Energy and other federal agency budgets for these programs should be rejected out-of-hand.

Instead, Congress should not only restore program budgets for the core sustainable energy programs but also increase funding to the levels authorized by the recently-enacted Energy Policy Act of 2005.

Furthermore, Congress should act to ensure that funds appropriated for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs are directed towards immediate deployment and near-term R&D rather than long-term, speculative research programs. As part of this, emphasis should be given to reinforcing those state and local sustainable programs now in place that are successfully and effectively deploying these technologies -- possibly through expanded grants programs.

Coupled with other efforts - such as extension and expansion of sustainable energy production and investment tax credits, government procurement, regulatory reform, and public education - adequate funding for, and proper design of, the federal sustainable energy program offers the best solution to the nation's energy woes. In fact, it may offer the only viable solution.

We look forward to working with you on this issue as you develop the FY'07 budget in the weeks and months ahead.

Sincerely,

Sustainable Energy Network: Adrian Dominican Sisters * Alliance for Affordable Energy * Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility * Association of Energy Conservation Professionals * Baylor Institute for Air Science * Bergey Windpower Co. * Biomass Coordinating Council * Bob Lawrence & Associates, Inc. * Citizen Power * Clean Energy Action (of Colorado) * Clean Fuels Development Coalition * Colorado Energy Group, Inc. * Dominican Sisters of Hope * Earth Sun Energy Systems * Energy Innovations * Environmental and Energy Study Institute * Environmental Energy Solutions * Geothermal Resources Council * Global Resource Options, Inc. * Greenpeace USA * Hawaii Solar Energy Association, Inc. * IHM Justice, Peace and Sustainability Office * Institute for Environmental Research and Education * Inter-Island Solar Supply * JBS Energy, Inc. * JBS Group * Maine Solar Energy Association * Mainstay Energy * Mercy Investment Program * Michigan Environmental Council * Minnesotans for an Energy-Efficient Economy * National Environmental Trust * New Community Project * NW Sustainable Energy for Economic Development * Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy * Office of Peace and Justice Sisters of St. Joseph * Pace Law School Energy Project * Photovoltaic Energy Systems * Program on Energy & Environment of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility * Redwood Alliance * RENEW Wisconsin * Roy Morrison & Associates, LLC * Save the Valley, Inc. * Sisters of Mercy Regional Community of Detroit * Solar Energy Solutions * Solar Energy International * Solena Group, Inc. * Southwest Desert Sustainability Project * SUN DAY Campaign * SunEarth Inc. * SustainableBusiness.com * Tahoe Solar Designs * The Stella Group, Ltd. * Ursuline Sisters of Tildonk-U.S. Province * Valley Watch, Inc. * Vermont Energy Investment Corporation * Waverly Light and Power * Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation * Women in Sustainable Energy

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