"House Spending Panel Votes to Gut Clean-Energy Research"

"Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives made manifest yesterday how much they dislike President Barack Obama's clean-energy agenda as a House spending panel voted for massive cuts in clean-energy research."

"The Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies, a part of the House Appropriations Committee, passed its markup of the proposed budget for fiscal year 2014, which begins on 1 October. In its version of the budget, the subcommittee would slash spending on the Department of Energy's (DOE's) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) from the current level of $252 million to just $50 million, an 80% cut. Kick-started in, ARPA-E aims to quickly develop the most promising results from basic research to a point at which private industry can take them over. The Obama administration had requested a boost for ARPA-E to $379 million. The subcommittee would also chop back funding for DOE's work on renewable energy by 50% to $983 million, according to a subcommittee press release.

Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), chair of the subcommittee, says that such cuts are necessitated by efforts to cut overall federal spending. Leaders of the Republican controlled House put a $30.4 billion spending cap on the energy and water spending bill, which funds DOE and the Army Corps of Engineers. That number is $2.9 billion below this year's spending level and more than $4 billion below the Obama administration's requested level. "The cuts we were forced to make to the applied energy research and development sector will shift work of this type to the private sector," Frelinghuysen said during a hearing on the bill. Representative Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), the ranking member of the subcommittee, noted that "the bill would effectively end" ARPA-E."

Adrian Cho reports for Science June 19, 2013.

Source: Science, 06/21/2013