Latest reports from the White House with regards to the recent budget suggest that the Trump administration plans to withhold $823m from a renewable-energy and energy efficiency programme.
Sources suggest the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (OEERE) within the US Department of Energy, was targeted for 80% cuts by the White House, but Congress increased its funding instead to $2.85bn a year.
Based on a statement by the Democrats on the House Science Committee, unspent funds make up to $823m. This money will allegedly be used for grants and financial assistance for renewable energy, electric vehicles and energy efficiency.
Referring the delayed funding, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) said it is another example of “ideologically driven efforts that thwart action to combat climate [change]”.
Among others are instances of pulling the US out of the Paris Agreement and easing Obama-era restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions from cars and power plants.
“The agency is flouting congressional intent,” commented NRDC analyst Arjun Krishnaswami.
The office recently also announced to cancel the funding of proposed projects which has left scores of staffing positions unfilled, reported Democrat Congressman Bill Foster, chairman of the House Science committee’s Investigations and Oversight subcommittee.
“When Congress passes a budget, we expect that budget to be followed,” Foster said. “It’s unclear to many of us there has been a completely good-faith effort.”
Assistant secretary at the OEERE, Daniel Simmons, on the other hand told the subcommittee that the agency intends to spend its entire budget and were taking concise efforts to hire more staff.
“This has been a very good-faith effort,” Simmons said. “We are trying to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars.”