Trump's new budget targets Rick Perry's Department of Energy for massive cuts

The president wants to cut the department's budget for renewable energy and energy efficiency by 72 percent in 2019

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published February 1, 2018 4:17PM (EST)

Rick Perry (AP/Cliff Owen)
Rick Perry (AP/Cliff Owen)

President Donald Trump is about to send a new budget draft to Congress that will once again demonstrate his fealty to the energy industry.

The new budget draft would gut Energy Department spending on renewable energy and energy efficiency by 72 percent for the 2019 fiscal year, according to The Washington Post. Such a drastic cut further establishes that shifting to fossil fuels is a major policy priority of the Trump administration.

The proposed spending cuts in 2019 are much greater than the ones Trump requested in the 2018 budget, although those cuts were left unimplemented due to the ongoing budget crisis. Trump had requested that the Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy only receive $636.1 million in its budget for the 2018 fiscal year, a decline of nearly 70 percent from its current budget of $2.04 billion. For the 2019 fiscal year, the Trump administration wants the budget to fall to $575.5 million. It also suggested reducing the agency's staff from 680 in 2017 to 450 in 2019.

Trump has long been a major supporter of the fossil fuels industry while serving as president. This included prioritizing a laundry list of 14 environmental deregulatory policies sent to him by one of his staunchest supporters, Robert E. Murray of Murray Energy, as well as pulling America out of the Paris climate accord and repeatedly denying the threat posed by man-made global warming.

Energy Department spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes emailed the Post to insist that "though it may not fit into the narrative of the environmental lobby and their pundits, the truth is that Secretary Perry believes that there is a role for all fuels — including renewables — in our energy mix."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a professional writer whose work has appeared in multiple national media outlets since 2012 and exclusively at Salon since 2016. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012, was a guest on Fox Business in 2019, repeatedly warned of Trump's impending refusal to concede during the 2020 election, spoke at the Commonwealth Club of California in 2021, was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022 and appeared on NPR in 2023. His diverse interests are reflected in his interviews including: President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (1999-2001), animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (1997-2001), director Jason Reitman ("The Front Runner"), inventor Ernő Rubik, comedian Bill Burr ("F Is for Family"), novelist James Patterson ("The President's Daughter"), epidemiologist Monica Gandhi, theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin, voice actor Rob Paulsen ("Animaniacs"), mRNA vaccine pioneer Katalin Karikó, philosopher of science Vinciane Despret, actor George Takei ("Star Trek"), climatologist Michael E. Mann, World War II historian Joshua Levine (consultant to "Dunkirk"), Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (2013-present), dog cognition researcher Alexandra Horowitz, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (2012, 2016), comedian and writer Larry Charles ("Seinfeld"), seismologist John Vidale, Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman (2000), Ambassador Michael McFaul (2012-2014), economist Richard Wolff, director Kevin Greutert ("Saw VI"), model Liskula Cohen, actor Rodger Bumpass ("SpongeBob Squarepants"), Senator John Hickenlooper (2021-present), Senator Martin Heinrich (2013-present), Egyptologist Richard Parkinson, Rep. Eric Swalwell (2013-present), Fox News host Tucker Carlson, actor R. J. Mitte ("Breaking Bad"), theoretical physicist Avi Loeb, biologist and genomics entrepreneur William Haseltine, comedian David Cross ("Scary Movie 2"), linguistics consultant Paul Frommer ("Avatar"), Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (2007-2015), computer engineer and Internet co-inventor Leonard Kleinrock and right-wing insurrectionist Roger Stone.

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2019 Budget Clean Coal Coal Donald Trump Donald Trump Budget Energy Department Trump Budget