By Ari Natter
President Obama's upcoming fiscal year 2014 budget request would increase
funding for energy programs within the Interior Department's Bureau of Land
Management by approximately 20 percent and includes a call for millions of
dollars in funding for natural gas production and carbon capture and
sequestration, the White House said March 15.
A “significant share” of the proposed funding increase for the Bureau of Land
Management would be used to improve the permitting process for both renewable
and oil and gas projects proposed for federal land, the White House said. It
will include a transition to an electronic, streamlined permitting system for
oil and gas that will “significantly reduce” the time it takes to approve new
The information was contained in a fact sheet released by
the White House in tandem with a speech President Obama made March 15 during a
visit to the Energy Department's Argonne National Laboratory, where the
president reiterated his call for Congress to create a $2 billion trust fund for
alternative vehicle research supported by federal revenue from existing oil and
“The only way to really break this cycle of spiking gas prices, the only way
to break that cycle for good is to shift our cars entirely, our cars and trucks
off oil,” Obama said.
In addition, the White House fact sheet said the president's budget will call
for more than $40 million in research to ensure “safe and responsible” natural
gas production to take advantage of the country's new found abundance of natural
The document also said the president's budget request, which the White House
said will be sent to Congress the week of April 8, will include a $375 million
spending request for “investment in clean energy from fossil fuels,” including
“significant funding” for clean coal technology and a new $25 million prize for
the first, natural gas combined-cycle power plant to integrate carbon capture
The document also said the president was setting a goal of cutting net oil
imports in half by the end of the decade, and was “committed” to new incentives
for medium- and heavy-duty trucks that run on natural gas or other alternative
fuels, including providing a credit for a five-year period for 50 percent of the
incremental cost of a dedicated alternative-fuel truck.
The president's budget would also expand applied research and development of
“innovative manufacturing processes and advanced industrial materials,” as part
of a call for increased investment in technologies that promote energy
efficiency, the fact sheet said.
The fact sheet, and Obama's speech about the alternative vehicle trust fund,
followed a March 7 meeting between the president and several business executives
in both the fossil fuel and clean energy industries (47 DER A-15, 3/11/13).
As outlined in Obama's speech, the trust fund, first mentioned by the
president in his State of the Union address, would set aside $2 billion over 10
years from royalty revenues generated by oil and gas development in federal
waters to fund research into advanced vehicles that run on electricity, biofuel,
fuel cells, and natural gas.
According to the White House, the trust fund would be paid for “within in the
context of the overall budget,” but the concept has already been criticized by
House Republicans who want the president to expand oil and gas production on
federal land and on the Outer Continental Shelf.
“It is extremely disappointing that the President's proposal--which clearly
recognizes the revenue potential of these vast resources--does not intend to
open up any new lands to expanded production,” Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), who
chairs the House Science Committee's Subcommittee on Energy, said in a March 15
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the chair of the full committee, also criticized
the president's proposal, saying $2 billion in “new spending for green energy
programs is not the answer.”
The White House fact sheet is available at http://op.bna.com/env.nsf/r?Open=smiy-95tnez.