March 30, 2017

Van Hollen Demands Trump Abandon Harmful DOE Cuts

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) joined Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and 16 Democratic Senators in sending a letter to President Trump urging him to reverse course on his plan to cut the Department of Energy's fiscal year 2018 budget.

"The Department of Energy is a science and technology leader, with an unrivaled network of national laboratories, accelerating innovation in energy, manufacturing and nuclear security," the Senators wrote. "Your budget proposal would jeopardize the very science and technology programs that you value, undermining U.S. energy leadership and killing American jobs."

The Department of Energy (DOE) is responsible for guiding national security energy policy, overseeing the direction of scientific labs and innovation, operating our nation's nuclear weapons complex, and crafting solutions to environmental, energy, and nuclear challenges to promote a more sustainable America.

The Senators wrote that the fiscal year 2018 budget proposes to slash funding and, in some cases, eliminate several critical DOE programs, including:

·Eliminating the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program;

·Eliminating Title 17 Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program;

·Eliminating the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) Program;

·Eliminating the Weatherization Assistance Program and the State Energy Program;

·Reducing the Office of Science's budget by 17 percent; and

·Reducing $2 billion from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the Office of Nuclear Energy, the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, and the Fossil Energy Research and Development programs.

In the letter, the Senators also noted that the Administration's fiscal year 2018 budget contradicts statements that Energy Secretary Rick Perry made during his nomination hearing. During the hearing, Secretary Perry stated "the Department can be a great resource in cooperating with the private sector to spur innovation, particularly by investing in cutting-edge research." He continued, "I hope to explore all the avenues available to transfer more of the great work performed at our national laboratories to the marketplace."

If implemented, the cuts to the Energy Department's budget could result in the loss of thousands of jobs, threaten important scientific research, and stall American innovation in the energy sector.

"The 'Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again' is misnamed. Instead, it would kill jobs and weaken America's competitiveness," the Senators wrote. "We will vigorously oppose these draconian proposals and urge you to change course immediately."

The letter was signed by Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Michael F. Bennet (D-Colo.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Jeffrey A. Merkley (D-Ore.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Gary C. Peters (D-Mich.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.) Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

Read the letter here.