House divided over Obama's energy budget

Feb. 14, 2012 at 8:12 AM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- White House critics say raising taxes on domestic energy is bad policy, though supporters counter the U.S. budget addresses the energy sea change.

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the $27.2 billion budget request for the department reflects President Barack Obama's ambition to make the United States a clean energy leader.

"The choice we face as a nation is simple," Chu said in a statement. "Do we want the clean energy technologies of tomorrow to be invented in America by American innovators, made by American workers and sold around the world, or do we want to concede those jobs to our competitors?"

Of Obama's budget, more than $270 million would go toward research and development of advanced fossil fuel-based power systems and carbon capture, utilization and storage technologies. Another $248 million is designated for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, an increase of more than $70 million from 2011.

U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, said U.S. taxpayers are burdened by Obama's energy budget, however.

"The president simply doesn't understand that raising taxes on energy production will ultimately end up costing American families and small businesses thousands of dollars at a time when they can least afford cost of living increases," he said in a statement.

Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., said, however, "Promoting clean energy will keep jobs at home as we invent the next generation of energy technologies."

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