May 17, 2017

Scoop: Trump's plan to cut fossil-fuel, nuclear funding

Amy Harder, author of Generate

The Trump administration wants to cut the Energy Department's offices for nuclear power and fossil-fuel energy by 31% and 54%, respectively, according to a draft administration budget document viewed by Axios.

Why it matters: Top Trump administration officials have repeatedly said they back nuclear power and fossil fuels, in particular coal burned more cleanly with technology that captures and stores carbon underground instead of emitting it. These cuts show mismatch between the rhetoric and what they're willing to allocate.

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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: Some conservative groups say cutting funding for policies like cleaner-burning coal technologies would undercut Trump's promise to save the coal industry.

"It would be very difficult, especially on the carbon capture front, to keep some of the promises that the administration made to the coal community if it's not going very deep on innovation in this space," said Rich Powell, executive director of ClearPath Foundation, a conservative organization pushing cleaner energy technologies within the GOP.

To be sure: Congress is unlikely to grant these fiscal year 2018 requests for the nuclear power and fossil offices, given support for those areas spans partisan lines. But the numbers are nonetheless important for two reasons: 1) It shows how even policy areas the administration backs are at risk for cuts. 2) It puts a marker down for negotiations with Congress. The lower the starting point, the lower the ultimate numbers could well end up.

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 reductions, including nearly 70% in the Energy Department's renewable energy office.

Go deeper

U.S. cities crackdown on protests against police brutality

Photo: Megan Jelinger/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Major U.S. cities have implemented curfews and called on National Guard to mobilize as thousands of protesters gather across the nation to continue protesting the death of George Floyd.

The state of play: Hundreds have already been arrested as tensions continue to rise between protesters and local governments. Protesters are setting police cars on fire as freeways remain blocked and windows are shattered, per the Washington Post. Law enforcement officials are using tear gas and rubber bullets to try to disperse crowds and send protesters home.

Trump to invite Russia and other non-member G7 countries to summit

President Trump at Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Saturday. Photo: Saul Martinez/Getty Images

President Trump told reporters on Saturday evening he would postpone the G7 summit to September and expand the meeting to more nations that are not members of the Group of 7.

Details: Trump said he would invite Russia, South Korea, Australia and India to the summit, according to a pool report. "I don’t feel that as a G7 it properly represents what’s going on in the world. It’s a very outdated group of countries," he said.

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George Floyd protests: What you need to know

Thousands of protesters march in Denver, Colorado, on May 30. Photo: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)

Curfews are being imposed in Portland, Oregon, and Cincinnati, while the governors of Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio and Texas activated the National Guard following unrest in the states, per AP.

The big picture: Floyd's fatal run-in with police is the latest reminder of the disparities between black and white communities in the U.S. and comes as African Americans grapple with higher death rates from the coronavirus and higher unemployment from trying to stem its spread.