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President Obama Submits Budget for Energy

On Feb. 2, President Obama released his fiscal year 2016 budget, including money for his climate change agenda, which includes efforts for the US to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and to manage adaptation efforts to climate change effects. Items include offering incentives for states to reduce their reliance on coal-fired power; $1.29 billion for the Global Climate Change Initiative; $400 million to map flood risks; $200 million for the Dept of Agriculture to plan for extreme weather events; and funding for coastal, drought, and wildfire resilience programs. There will likely be a budget fight with Congressional Republicans, many of whom campaigned against spending on climate initiatives. In the early days of the new session, the House and Senate already passed rules ordering approval of the Keystone Pipeline project (with some Democrats joining Republicans), but not by enough votes to overturn a likely veto. Congress plan to work to defeat other administrative rules, such as the USEPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan.

The fiscal year 2016 budget request is $29.9 billion for the Dept of Energy (a 10% increase). The DOE would have about $5 billion to spend on clean energy technology programs. The fiscal year 2016 budget request for the USEPA is $8.6 billion (6% increase). This includes large increases for the administration’s latest climate change initiatives, but will come at the expense of some traditional environmental programs.

For energy upgrade planning, the budget request seeks to make permanent the renewable energy production tax credit and investment tax credit and reduce many oil and gas tax incentives.  The budget would permanently extend the deduction for energy efficient commercial building property, provide a CO2 investment and sequestration tax credit; extend the current tax credit for 2nd generation biofuel production; provide a tax credit for the production of advanced technology vehicles; provide a tax credit for medium and heavy-duty alternative-fuel commercial vehicles; extend the tax credit for the construction of energy-efficient new homes; and reduce excise taxes on liquefied natural gas to bring it into parity with diesel fuel. The House Ways & Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee headed by Republicans have indicated an interest in extending many of the tax incentives for energy that expired in 2014, but have not indicated which ones, when the extensions will occur, and which may be expanded.

Marc Karell is owner of Climate Change & Environmental Services. CCES has the experts to help you qualify for all applicable energy incentives on the federal, state, and local levels so you can gain the maximum financial benefits from your energy upgrades. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or karell@CCESworld.com.

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