May 17, 2017

Scoop: Trump's plan to slash renewables 70%

The Trump administration wants to cut the Energy Department's renewable and energy efficiency program by nearly 70%, according to a draft agency budget document viewed by Axios.

Why it matters: Congress is probably not going to grant such deep cuts, but the numbers are nonetheless important for two reasons: 1) It shows how extreme the administration wants to go with its budget cuts in policy areas its rhetoric hasn't supported. 2) It puts a low marker down to negotiate with Congress. The lower the starting point, the lower the ultimate numbers could well end up.

Data: Draft of Energy Department budget; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios
Data: Draft of Energy Department budget; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

For the record: An Energy Department spokesperson didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

What we're hearing: Most environmental groups and other left-leaning advocacy groups have focused on the deep budget cuts Trump wants for the Environmental Protection Agency, but some organizations want to ensure the broader umbrella of Democratic and environmental interests also defends the clean-energy investments at the Energy Department.

"The clean energy and climate communities need to defend energy innovation with the same vigor they're defending environmental protections," said Josh Freed, vice president for clean energy at Third Way, a center-left think tank.

What's next: The Trump administration has said it will send its budget request for fiscal year 2018 to Congress next week. These proposed cuts are part of a broader effort across the administration to make deep spending reductions, including in the Energy Department's offices of nuclear and fossil-fuel energies.

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