Five Takeaways from the White House Energy Budget

Posted February 4, 2015

President Obama is releasing his budget this week and here are five key elements for energy policy in America:

1) $2 billion for carbon capture projects

According to National Journal, the President’s plan would create $2 billion in ‘refundable credits for installing equipment that traps carbon emissions from power plants.’ Although tax credits help the industry to move forward, they ignore the fact that a better, cheaper alternative would be to allow energy production based on its cost and ability to provide reliable power to homes and businesses.

2) $4 billion to the Clean Power State Incentive Fund

Reuters reports the plan will also include $4 billion in a new fund to encourage states to ‘make a faster and deeper cut to emissions from power plants.’ States could qualify for funding by targeting greater reductions in emissions than originally proposed by the EPA. The budget also calls for “the permanent extension of the Production Tax Credit, used by the wind industry, and the Investment Tax Credit, used by the solar industry, the officials said.” The Wall Street Journal reports the credits together, “would cost the government $31.5 billion over the next decade. The wind credit expired at the end of 2013 and Congress must vote to renew it. The solar industry’s credit expires at the end of 2016.”

3) EPA to get increased funding

The President’s budget increases the EPA’s budget from $8.1 billion to $8.6 billion. This past year, the EPA proposed the ‘Clean Power Plan.’ A recent study by Energy Ventures Analysis found that the new ‘Clean Power Plan’ would increase natural gas rates in Minnesota by 45 percent and electricity rates by 18 percent. Furthermore, North Dakotans can expect an increase of 58 percent in natural gas rates and 33 percent in electricity rates.

4) Creates an unfair tax structure for traditional energy sources

The Wall Street Journal notes the President’s plan will raise an additional $50 billion taxes from traditional sources that provide most of our energy needs of energy like oil, natural gas, and coal while permanently extending expensive tax credits for unreliable wind and solar projects. “Most of that amount–$45.5 billion—comes from the oil and natural-gas sector” and could be passed on to consumers. As noted in a previous poll released by the Coalition for a Secure Energy Future, 77 percent of Minnesotans agree that the United States needs an all of the above energy policy that utilizes all of our natural resources to keep energy prices low and maintain energy security.

5) $500 Million for Green Climate Fund

The Hill is reporting that the budget will also include a provision to spend $500 million as a contribution to the United Nation’s Climate Fund. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), now chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, called it an “unfortunate decision to not listen to voters in this most recent election cycle,” and promised to fight it. “The president’s climate change agenda has only siphoned precious taxpayer dollars away from the real problems facing the American people.”