As President Trump and the current Congress look to drastically change American climate, environmental and clean energy policy, business voices are essential to pushing back on an oft-repeated and bogus message that pro-business means anti-environment.
In the next two months, E2 members are coming to Washington to do just that.
First, in March, a delegation of E2 members will bring their business acumen and, with fresh clean energy jobs data from E2 and the Department of Energy (DOE) in hand, demand that their lawmakers support smart policies. This is the time of year when the president presents his budget for the next fiscal year, and then negotiates with Congress over spending levels for programs across the federal government. Given President Trump’s aversion to environmental protection and ignorance of the clean energy economy, many programs that protect the environment and invest in research and development in clean energy are seriously threatened.
E2 members and staff will make the strong case that the common sense standards from the EPA – for instance those that set fuel economy standards for cars and trucks – can protect the environment and help American industries to innovate and create jobs while also opening foreign markets to our products. We'll also advocate to protect the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) and loan guarantee programs at DOE. All of these programs put crucial research and development dollars and resources in the hands of entrepreneurs and have an incredible rate of success and commercialization. We will also focus on programs and initiatives at the departments of Defense, Commerce and State Department that support the clean energy economy and international climate policy.
The second E2 Washington D.C. trip will be in late April and we will focus largely on tax policy. Leaders in Congress as well as President Trump have spoken at length about their desire to change the tax code, which has not been reformed since 1986. This prospect presents both possibilities and dangers specifically for energy policy. Oil and gas industries could lose some of the many breaks and incentives they receive – but the clean energy sector could lose the few small incentives it currently receives as well. We will bring E2 members to Washington to ensure that the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind and Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar are kept on their current trajectory – slowly winding down over the next few years, instead of being abruptly ended. We will advocate to make sure that energy efficiency tax credits are brought back after being allowed to sunset at the end of 2016.
These won't be the only issues E2 will be advocating for in March and April. Other issues will surely develop in coming weeks. What is important to note is that E2 is doing what it does so well – amplifying the business message through its members and using our robust reports and data to advocate on issues of importance in a way other groups cannot.