The US House of Representatives volleyed first in the federal budget battle over the spending in the current federal fiscal year. The current federal operations are operating under a “continuing resolution” since the beginning of the federal fiscal year on Oct. 1, 2010. Faced with the expiration of that resolution on March 4th of this year, the House passed a budget on Feb. 19th making deep cuts in programs at the US EPA and US DOE (and other programs not reviewed here). On largely party line votes, the Republican controlled House voted to cut funding by $3B at US EPA and $1B at US DOE for the final seven months of the fiscal year. The most visible casualty in these cuts would be funding necessary for EPA to move forward with regulations on carbon emissions. But the cuts in the bill go deeper, restricting the role of NOAA and other federal agencies in working on climate change issues as well as prohibiting new federal regulations on coal mining and coal ash emissions. The budget battle now shifts to the Democratic controlled Senate which is unlikely to agree with many of the provisions in the House budget. This sets up a federal level scrum that requires an agreement by March 4th – or risk a shutdown of the federal government. NEEC will be blogging on federal budget developments that affect energy efficiency – stay current by signing up for an RSS feed alert on the NEEC home page.
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