In June, the Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) budget was cut by 80% – from $252 million to $50 million, severely limiting the DOE’s research arm for developing clean energy technologies, in spite of a request by the Obama administration for an increase in funding to ARPA-E. Additionally, funding for DOE’s work on renewable energy was cut by 50%. Overall, the Republican spending bill for energy and water made cuts of $911 million.
On the flip side, the bill increased spending on nuclear weapons programs, and provided $656 million for nuclear research and development and $450 million for fossil fuel research and development. Energy and Water Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen explained that the bill was designed to fund critical national security, jobs and infrastructure programs. Frelinghuysen said, “In a challenging fiscal environment, we have to prioritize funding, and the Subcommittee chose to address the readiness and safety of the nation’s nuclear stockpile and to invest in critical infrastructure projects to protect lives and property and support economic growth.”
Other priorities for funding this summer by Republicans on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee include two more years of support for NASA and its program for developing colonies on both the Moon and Mars. According to POLITICO, a discussion draft states, “The [NASA] Administrator shall establish a program to develop a sustained human presence on the Moon and the surface of Mars.” Sources say the Moon colony alone could cost between $250 billion to $500 billion. However, while space exploration and colonization is a priority, the reauthorization of NASA included drastic cuts to the entity’s spending on climate change research.