Earlier this month, the Colorado-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s financial future looked fairly uncertain.
"President Bush's proposed budget will not have an impact this year," said Bob Noun, NREL's deputy associate director. "The current situation is we still have to lay off between 30 to 40 employees. But we are encouraged by the areas that were covered by the president."
The impact of Bush's proposed budget on the lab in the next year remains unclear. On Monday, the Department of Energy released a fiscal 2007 budget request seeking $162 million for NREL, $10 million lower than the lab's budget in fiscal 2006. Rocky Mtn News
But, then, something odd happened. Bush announced that the country needs to find an alternative to conventional fuels and lessen its dependency on foreign oil
, (not that this is exactly "news") and is traveling the country (at least the “red” parts) to stump for this epiphany, and, voila
! miracles do happen. Those lost jobs were deemed a “mistake” and magically reappeared prior to Bush’s visit to NREL.
Still, the NREL's budget dropped $22.5 million this year and was set to fall another $11 million next year. Two weeks ago, 32 people were laid off.
But Sunday, the Department of Energy announced those jobs were restored, effective immediately, by shifting unused funds from other accounts. Denver Post
I believe most people can agree that the Bush administration hasn’t exactly had a record of being environmentally friendly
What is driving Bush’s newfound enthusiasm for alternative fuel sources?
“To me, that means significantly increasing funding for NREL and DOE’s renewable programs. Despite what the president has announced today, NREL's funding is still down from last year. And under his proposal for FY07, funding for renewable energy programs will only increase by a paltry 0.2% over last year. That doesn’t say to me that the president is thinking boldly about a new energy future. Under his 2007 proposal, NREL may get more from the DOE budget, but the overall renewable energy and energy efficiency budget for 2007 will not change in any where near the numbers necessary to boldly put us on a path toward energy security.
“The president joked about his Texas roots as an oil man and I thought it was great for him to poke some fun at himself. There’s an old Texas saying about ranchers who are ‘all hat and no cattle.’ The president came to Colorado today wearing a big hat for renewable energy, but the ‘dubbya’ brand is not on many head of renewable energy cattle. Congressman Udall-CO
Is this a genuine interest/effort, or something else?