- Lawmakers on the House Appropriations Committee yesterday voted to slash Energy Star funding in the fiscal year 2018 budget — an improvement over previous calls to cut the program entirely, but advocates say the impact could still be "crippling."
- The House Appropriations Committee report showed Energy Star funding at $31 million, a roughly 40% cut according to the Alliance to Save Energy (ASE).
- A preliminary White House budget called for cutting the program entirely, leaving just $5 million in place to close out operations and transfer Energy Star to a non-governmental operator. The popular program helped American homes and businesses save $34 billion, according to ASE.
While lawmakers are pushing back on President Trump's broad and deep cuts to federal agencies focused on energy, environment and research, the impact of steep budget reductions will still be felt.
“We appreciate that the committee has rejected the administration's proposal to eliminate Energy Star, but a 40 percent cut would be crippling as well," ASE President Kateri Callahan said in a statement. "I have to wonder where this is coming from."
EPA's very popular Energy Star program drew broad bipartisan support since it was created under President George H.W. Bush. More than 90% of Americans know the brand; nearly half own an Energy Star-rated appliance, and 16,000 companies voluntarily participate, according to ASE.
But the White House has proposed broad cuts in order to pay for enhanced defense spending. In the Department of Energy, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy would see a 69% budget cut compared with 2016 levels; the Office of Fossil Energy budget would be reduced 44%, and the Office of Nuclear Energy budget would decline by nearly 30%.
At the Environmental Protection Agency, President Trump proposed slashing the agency's budget by $2.6 billion to $5.7 billion — a cut of more than 31%.