A few weeks ago, the White House Office of Management and Budget released their 2018 Budget Blueprint. The document is not a detailed budget proposal, but it provides a broad overview of budget priorities across all federal departments. The proposal covers only discretionary, not mandatory, spending.
The Department of Energy section begins on page 19 of the Blueprint. The section relevant to Clean Cities is on page 20:
Focuses funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the Office of Nuclear Energy, the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, and the Fossil Energy Research and Development program on limited, early-stage applied energy research and development activities where the Federal role is stronger. In addition, the Budget eliminates the Weatherization Assistance Program and the State Energy Program to reduce Federal intervention in State-level energy policy and implementation.
While the Blueprint does not detail cuts to specific programs, it is not a stretch to see this as signaling proposed, significant reduction or elimination of funding for Clean Cities, which is housed under the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). Clean Cities is a deployment program that impacts local communities and states, not “limited, early-stage applied energy research and development.” The George W. Bush Administration also disagreed with a federal role for “deployment” and sought to cut or eliminate Clean Cities, so there is precedence for this perspective and action.
The Clean Cities program advances the nation's economic, environmental, and energy security by supporting local actions to cut petroleum use in transportation. The Clean Cities program was created in 1993 under the U.S. Department of Energy. Clean Fuels Ohio became the 82nd designated Clean Cities coalition in 2002.
Nearly 100 local coalitions serve as the foundation of the Clean Cities program by working to cut petroleum use in communities across the country. Clean Cities coalitions are comprised of businesses, fuel providers, vehicle fleets, state and local government agencies and community organizations. Nationwide, nearly 15,000 stakeholders participate in Clean Cities coalitions.
Clean Fuels Ohio has been, and is currently working with, stakeholders and coalitions across the country to educate Congressional leaders about the importance and impacts of Clean Cities. This effort continued at the Energy Independence Summit in February. Fortunately, due to these efforts over the years, Clean Cities has many strong supporters in Congress, including key members of House and Senate Appropriations Committees from both political parties who understand the program’s notorious track record to create strong impact with a comparatively small amount of federal appropriation.
While we see President Trump’s budget blueprint as a potential threat to Clean Cities, Clean Fuels Ohio will continue to play an ongoing role in defending Clean Cities, and we will continue to keep our partners informed and engaged.