FY '09 Budget Request a Disappointing 'Second Act' to President's Lofty State of the Union Goals

The Alliance to Save Energy today expressed sharp disappointment with President Bush's FY 2009 budget request, which eliminates most recent funding increases for energy-efficiency programs.

Washington, D.C., February 4, 2008 - The Alliance to Save Energy today expressed sharp disappointment with President Bush's FY 2009 budget request, which eliminates most recent funding increases for energy-efficiency programs and flies in the face of the lofty clean energy and efficiency goals set forth in the State of the Union.

"How can the president seriously expect U.S. leadership in developing clean energy technologies and confronting climate change when he sends Congress a budget that erases nearly all of the gains in energy-efficiency program funding over the past five years?" asked Alliance President Kateri Callahan.

She explained: "In his State of the Union message last week, the president called for continued U.S. leadership in developing energy-efficiency technologies and in using energy efficiency to help reduce greenhouse gases. Yet today's budget request confounds the president's own rhetoric by reducing funding for key energy-efficiency and research and development programs, particularly those in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)."

Callahan also criticized the 9 percent, $8 million cut - to $44 million - in the request for the Environmental Protection Agency's ENERGY STAR program, which, she noted, is "the most prominent voluntary program to address global warming."

Callahan also called the drastic reduction in funding for the DOE weatherization program, which provides funds to improve the efficiency of low-income families' homes, "almost unbelievable when one considers the number of American consumers struggling with spiraling heating and other home energy costs in a time of economic downturn."

Callahan acknowledged one bright spot in the energy budget - proposed modest gains in funding for the DOE Building Technologies Program. She stated, "Buildings account for 40 percent of U.S. energy use and 39 percent of carbon emissions, so the proposed increase of $15 million over last year's funding level is encouraging."

Also encouraging, Callahan said, is the administration's plan to look at strengthening building energy codes by 30 percent over current levels. "Implementing stronger building energy codes is a top priority of the Alliance, and we eagerly await the details as the budget request does not specify how this would be accomplished," she said.

Despite those positive notes, however, Callahan closed by stating, "The president's energy budget request as a whole represents a failure of leadership and we now look to Congress to step in and insure that energy-efficiency and clean technology programs are protected and adequately funded in the final year of the Bush Administration."

(Pleae see link below for budget details, as analyzed by the Alliance.)

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