Energy Programs Brace for Deep Spending Cuts After Debt Deal

The debt deal reached by the White House and Congress will likely trigger deep spending cuts for many energy and environmental programs for years to come, a shift many fear could have long-term repercussions on public health and the emergence of new energy technologies. With Congress poised to make spending reductions in exchange for raising the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion — including $917 billion in discretionary cuts over the next decade — experts predict environmental agencies at the federal and state levels and grant-funded programs should brace for significantly reduced budgets. While it remains unclear where cuts will occur, one former Republican congressman told Politico he expects the U.S. Department of Energy could see less funding for programs dealing with fuel cells, biofuels, wind and nuclear energy. In addition, Environmental Protection Agency grants for critical programs, including drinking water and pollution monitoring efforts, could see dramatic cuts, while the EPA’s regulatory authority could also “take a whack,” said James Walsh, a former congressman who chaired the subcommittee that handled the EPA’s budget.