On April 10, President Obama released his proposed FY14 budget. The budget focuses on climate change and pushes for a 17 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by the year 2020. Many renewable energy initiatives and programs received increased funding. It advocates for continued work on the renewable fuels standard. The budget also made mention of fossil fuels: it called on the removal of oil and gas company incentives, it requested $25 million to award the first natural gas plant to successfully incorporate carbon capture and storage technology, it proposed higher royalties and fees for oil and gas production, and it pushed for additional hydraulic fracturing research.
The DOE was slated to receive $28.4 billion, up 8 percent from the 2012 budget level. The Office of Science was given $5.2 billion. The budget also advocated for a one-time program modeled after the Race-to-the-Top Program to improve energy efficiency and the electric grid; this program received $200 million. $20 million was set aside to create an Energy Innovation Hub to focus on the electric grid. Some offices saw a cut in their budget: the Fossil Energy Research and Development program was cut by $113 million and the Office of Nuclear Energy was cut by $65 million. On the other hand, several offices saw an increased budget compared to 2012 budget levels. The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) received $379 million, an increase of 38 percent. The FY14 budget allocated $2.78 billion for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE); this number is up by almost $1 billion from 2012. Highlights of the EERE budget include $615.5 million for renewable electricity generation, $957 million for sustainable transportation, and $949 million for energy saving homes, building, and manufacturing. $95 million was specifically set aside for wind energy. On April 10, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson presented on the Office’s FY14 budget rollout; please find attached the slideshow from Dr. Danielson’s presentation.
The EPA received $8.2 billion in the proposed budget, down 3.5 percent from the 2012 budget. Most cuts involved the State Revolving Funds which provide loans to localities for drinking water and wastewater projects. $33 million was cut from the Hazardous Substance Superfund program. However, $176.5 million was set aside for climate change projects and initiatives. $60 million was allocated for the E-Enterprise initiative, an online portal for regulated companies to apply for permits and track their status. In addition, the EPA was directed to work with other federal and state agencies to create collaborative strategies to reduce emissions.
At the Department of the Interior (DOI), the overall budget was set at $11.9 billion or a 3.5 percent increase from 2012 levels. Funding for different bureaus and offices included $1.148 billion for the Bureau of Land Management, $222 million for the Bureau of Safety and Environmental, $1.08 billion for the Bureau of Reclamation, $169 million for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), and $117 million for the Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation. BOEM’s allocation rose by 3 percent from the 2013 proposal while the Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation’s allocation was decreased by $24 million from the 2013 proposal. $100 million was also allocated for renewable energy projects on public land permits. The Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service received budgets of $1.5 billion and $2.3 billion respectively, both lower than 2012 proposals. President Obama cited a need for better oversight of industry operations, particularly over oil spills and over the development of the Arctic Outer Continental Shelf, for the need to increase many budgets at the Department.
The FY14 budget allocated $1.06 billion for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The budget rose by $17 million, and $12.3 million of this increase was for the Reactor Safety program which is implementing safety recommendations following the Fukushima Daiichi disaster. The increased funding also supports nuclear waste confidence rule revisions and construction oversight.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) budget in the FY14 proposal was set at $304.6 million. The request is almost identical to last year’s figure, and it will be funded entirely through fees collected from regulated businesses.
At the Department of Commerce, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) received $5.546 billion in the FY14 budget, up from the $5.33 billion allocated in the 2013 continuing resolution. The National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) received over $2 billion of the NOAA budget, and the National Weather Service received $22 million increase to $1.1 billion for information technology (IT) upgrades.
Under the purview of the Department of Labor, the Bureau of Labor Statistics was directed to get rid of three economic reports in an effort to focus on the highest priority initiatives. The report on green jobs, which was created in 2009 and which released its first report in 2012, was discontinued.
In addition to agencies and Departments, the budget also outlined funding for several international efforts. The U.S.’s contribution to the Clean Technology Fund received a $30 million increase to $216 million; the Strategic Climate Fund received an $18 million increase to $68 million. The U.S. will complete its $575 million, four year pledge to the Global Environment Facility in FY14 by contributing $143.8 million. The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will receive $13 million, up from $10 million. However, many U.N. efforts will see no increase in funding, such as the U.N. Environment Program staying at $8 million. The U.S.’s contribution to the Montreal Protocol Multilateral Fund was cut by $26 million, and the World Meteorological Organization received a $1 million cut in U.S. funding.