If you thought Donald Trump’s plan to slash the EPA budget was bad, he's got an even worse idea for renewable energy.
According to an exclusive report by Axios, the White House will be proposing 70 percent cuts to the Energy Department's renewables and energy efficiency programs. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), as climate blogger Joe Romm points out, is key to developing jobs in the clean energy industry, and its efficiency programs are remarkably cost-effective.
These proposed cuts—even if they don't go anywhere in Congress—aren't the only problem. Trump's pick to head this Energy Department office is Daniel Simmons, who has spent years working at Koch Brothers-aligned think tanks criticizing… you guessed it, renewable energy and energy efficiency programs.
We all know that developing clean, renewable energy is absolutely essential if we hope to avoid the most serious impacts of climate change. And whether it's reducing air pollution or fighting climate change, the vast majority of Americans know the time to transform our energy system is right now. A new Pew Research Center poll found that 83 percent of Americans believe increasing our use of renewable energy sources is a top priority for the nation’s energy policies. And more Americans think government regulations are necessary to make this switch than merely relying on the "private marketplace" to deliver a clean energy revolution.
When Trump presents this budget to Congress—which could be as soon as this week—lawmakers should send the White House a clear message: For the sake of jobs, public health, and the environment, clean energy is a winner.