America has led the world in making creative use of technology to combine economic growth with an improved environment. Modern farms, industries, buildings, and transportation systems use resources more efficiently and minimize the waste dumped into the nation s soil, air, and water. Moreover, the global marketplace for environmental technologies is estimated at $200-$300 billion a year and $400-$600 billion by the year 2000 -- not counting approximately $1 trillion of additional investment in new power generation equipment worldwide.
To meet these challenges and take full advantages of these tremendous opportunities, the United States must maintain its lead in energy and environmental R&D. Congressional cuts to many of the President's FY 96 budget requests reduce R&D in this critical area to levels that threaten our ability to compete and, ultimately, environmental quality itself. The Congressional majority budget cuts undermine a long-standing bipartisan understanding that new technologies are by far the most effective and least expensive solution to our environmental needs and that government research funds are needed to complement private investment in environmental areas. The extreme Congressional actions to dismantle environmental R&D include:
o Solar and Renewable Energy. The House and Senate reduced funding for clean new energy sources, such as solar and biomass energy, by 37% and 33%, respectively, from the President's request. This research is being slashed just as the global market for renewable technologies is expanding rapidly and other nations accelerate their renewable research programs.
o Efficient Buildings The highly fragmented construction industry has had difficulty funding research at rates equivalent to those of other manufacturing businesses. Federal funds have made it possible for builders and building suppliers to develop technologies which improve construction productivity, increase worker safety, and result in higher quality structures which have much lower operating costs -- including energy costs. This is critical since buildings are responsible for about $200 billion of energy use per year. Congress, however, has cut funding by more than 40%.
o Automotive Fuel Use and Urban Air Quality. Nearly one in four Americans live in an urban area that does not meet environmental health standards. The House and Senate have reduced funding by 51% and 29%, respectively, for the Partnership for a New Generation Vehicle, a research program shared with the US auto industry that aims to design an attractive, affordable car with dramatically improved efficiency and low air emissions.
o Environmental Technologies. The Environmental Technology Initiative, a competitive multi-agency program to eliminate public policy and regulatory barriers that constrain private sector efforts to use innovative technologies that reduce health and environmental risks, cut the cost of complying with environmental requirements, and strengthen our ability to compete in global markets, was eliminated by the House -- a cut of almost $150 million from the President's request.