By Devin Henry
March 13, 2017 - A group of coal-mining firms, labor unions and energy-industry associations is asking the Trump administration to spare a critical research office from budget cuts this year.
In a letter to President Trump released on Monday, the groups said the White House should protect the Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy from funding cuts.
The office studies fossil fuel technologies such as capturing carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants. In its letter, the group said the office “yields significant benefits” for the industry.
“Public-private partnerships through the Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy are responsible for many innovative breakthroughs since its creation in 1977,” the letter said.
“In light of recent calls for dramatic cuts to the federal budget, we want to stress that every dollar allocated to fossil energy research is an investment in the long-term future of America’s coal and fossil fuel industry.”
Coal companies like Cloud Peak Energy and Arch Coal, as well as labor unions and energy groups like ClearPath Action, signed the letter, sent on Friday.
The note comes days before the Trump administration releases its budget outline for the next fiscal year.
Trump officials have identified the Office of Fossil Energy as one of several Energy Department programs that could be axed.
Lawmakers have raised concerns about the size and breadth of the administration’s reported budget targets. During his confirmation hearing, several senators urged now-Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to preserve the department’s extensive energy industry research accounts during the budget process.