Bush admin looks to cut funding for energy efficiency

To fund long-term research into speculative future energy sources, the Bush administration wants to cut guaranteed present-day energy savings: The proposed 2007 Energy Department budget would eliminate $152 million (roughly 16 percent) from its energy-efficiency programs. A program to improve the efficiency of heavy-duty trucks would be axed completely, as would one focused on new buildings. A technology-improvement project that saved the U.S. $9 billion on oil in 2004 would have its budget chopped by a third from 2005 levels, even though it’s already saved more oil than the administration’s Hydrogen Fuel Initiative would by 2025. “At this point in time, with high energy prices and pressures, you’d think maybe we’d want to invest in a suite of energy-efficiency programs that make a dent right away,” says William Prindle of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. We don’t know whether to laugh or cry. We’re thinking cry.