News Release

Trump’s Energy Agenda


unnamed-1Donald Trump announced Wednesday he is nominating former Texas Governor Rick Perry to be Energy Secretary.

ROBERT ALVAREZ, kitbob [at]
Alvarez is a former senior policy adviser to the U.S. Secretary of Energy and is now a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies. He also writes a column at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

He said today: “After reading the questionnaire sent by the Trump transition team to the Energy Department, here’s what I surmise they want to do:

* Identify federal and contractor employees involved in climate change activities they want to marginalize or get rid of. To its credit, the DOE is refusing to provide these names. The Trump team has now disavowed that this is its intent.

* Freeze all new federal hires and set the stage for lay-offs;

* Seriously curtail energy renewable and conservation programs;

* Figure out the contracting maze (good luck on that one!);

* Figure out how they can reduce cleanup spending at profoundly contaminated nuclear weapons sites, now costing around $6 billion per year, with an estimated total liability approaching $400 billion;

* Find ways to restart the Yucca Mt. nuclear waste disposal site for spent power reactor fuel;

* Spend more on nuclear research and development, especially for Small Modular Reactors. Nuclear R&D already consumes and $2 billion in FY 2016 — the single largest fraction (40 percent) of all energy R&D funding;

* Stem the accelerating closure of aging, uneconomical nuclear power plants;

* Muzzle the Energy Information Administration to eliminate any analysis regarding carbon emissions.

“What’s interesting is what’s missing, especially the nuclear weapons program, which is responsible for maintaining some 7,000 nuclear warheads. This program makes up the single largest piece of the DOE budget and is experiencing out-of-control costs. Military nuclear spending makes up nearly 60 percent of the DOE’s budget.

“Then there’s also the disposition of the huge stockpiles of nuclear weapons materials and radioactive wastes; the Power Marketing Administration’s providing electricity to wide swaths of western states; the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Naval Reactors, and nuclear non-proliferation.

“With a land-base greater than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined, the Energy Department is responsible for the largest government-owned research and industrial complex in the United States.

“However, other than adopting the Heritage Foundation’s regressive fossil fuel agenda, cutting back on the workforce, stamping out climate change policies, trying to stave off collapse of the nuclear power industry, and cutting funds for environmental cleanup, it appears that the Trump transition team has no clue of how all the elements of DOE fit together. Now Trump is nominating a person to run the agency who has vowed to get rid this agency but couldn’t remember its name.”