VIDEO: What Ever Happened To The Conservative Defenders Of Energy Research?
As House Republicans try to slash funding for research and development of new energy technologies, conservative figures who once proclaimed their support for such initiatives have been curiously silent.
Buoyed by Republican  lawmakers, the House recently passed  a spending bill that cuts  funding for Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), the key federal program that invests in research and development of new energy technologies, by 81 percent. ARPA-E is a bipartisan  Bush-era creation  modeled on the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency  (DARPA), which spurred breakthroughs  like the internet and stealth fighter. Now, even a midpoint reconciliation  with the more generous Senate spending bill could leave funding for the program in tatters.
These cuts are an extreme departure from the rare interparty comity  that has typically surrounded research and development for alternative energy. Indeed, conservative media figures have frequently embraced such efforts -- as opposed to programs that award loans to address the so-called "valley of death " between development and commercialization -- echoing the pro-ARPA-E views  of free -market groups  and some Republican leaders . Among the latter was former presidential nominee Mitt Romney , who supported increasing funding. But with ARPA-E now in trouble, these figures appear tongue-tied.
The New York Times' Andrew Revkin recently highlighted this divide, asking  why syndicated columnist George Will had not spoken out against the cuts to ARPA-E after himself championing federal funding for scientific research.
While U.S. energy research and development has been on the rise in recent years, spending is still below  the 1970s peak and set to drop significantly in the years ahead, even as experts and the International Energy Agency have recommended  we spend more:
Coleman Lowndes contributed to this video.
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