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Byrne Proposes Shutting Down Clean Energy Research

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Friday, May 1, US Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) proposed eliminating all funding for the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) program. Rep. Byrne proposed his amendment during debate on an energy and water development funding bill. Congressman Byrne said that his amendment would save $1,657,774,000 in what he called “wasteful” spending. The EERE program funds research and development of “clean-energy” technologies.

Byrne’s amendment was not adopted on a vote of 139 to 282.

Representative Byrne said, “My amendment seeks to strike all funding for the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy program.  This program, under the Department of Energy, allows the government to invest millions of taxpayer dollars in high risk research and development schemes for “green energy” projects.  The government should not be in the business of subsidizing the research and development initiatives of individual companies. Let’s be clear: competition and innovation have been key aspects of private sector success in our country from day one and the government should not take the role of a private investor.”

Rep. Byrne continued, “Every business has a bottom line, which is in itself a direct incentive for developing methods for becoming more energy efficient and innovative.  By subsidizing this small sector of the energy economy, we are essentially allowing the Department of Energy to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on unconventional energy initiatives and projects that place taxpayer dollars at risk and that are not likely to produce a return on investment.”

The conservative Alabama Congressman said, “We, as a Congress, have continuously stated the need for an all-of-the-above energy strategy, but continued investment into the EERE program focuses on a small portion of a largely unproductive portion of the energy sector at the expense of more traditional energy sources, such as fossil fuels and nuclear, that have a proven, reliable track record.”

Rep. Byrne sad, “Ultimately, the American people are sick and tired of a federal government that continues to recklessly spend taxpayer dollars. They want to see Congress make the tough choices and rein in wasteful spending.  I believe that eliminating funding for the EERE program would be a step in the right direction and would be a small step toward restoring fiscal sanity in Washington.”

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Byrne concluded that, “We must focus on reasonable energy strategies that allow for the most affordable and reliable energy resources for consumers and businesses alike.”

The Heritage Foundation has long advocated eliminating the controversial Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy program.

The Heritage Foundation’s Nicolas Loras wrote recently:

“The spending in EERE has the goal of lowering the costs of technologies to compete in the marketplace for “green” technologies. In March 2013 the DOE announced five new spending projects as part of its Clean Energy Manufacturing Program that “focused on reducing energy use and costs for U.S. manufacturers, while helping to boost product output and improve companies’ bottom lines…The American taxpayer paying for these initiatives that should be fully funded by the private sector. Companies will invest in innovation to improve processes, reduce energy, and improve their bottom lines, but when the taxpayer pays for part of that “investment,” the government program is offsetting private investments that would have been made anyway.”

Congressman Bradley Byrne represents Alabama’s First Congressional District.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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