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More "tough choices" revealed in the latest House appropriations bill:

House Republicans unveiled a scaled-back $30.6 billion energy and water budget Wednesday that makes deep cuts from energy efficiency and renewable energy programs while trying to stabilize science and defense investments within tighter spending caps. […]

Within the Department of Energy, for example, science programs are held stable at $4.8 billion—just $42 million below the agreed upon 2011 level. And in the defense field, nuclear weapon activities are promised nearly $7.1 billion, a cut from the department’s request but still $195 million over 2011.

By comparison, energy efficiency and renewable energy programs are big losers. Total funding in this sector is set at $1.3 billion, less than half of President Barack Obama’s request and $491 million below current funding.

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With gasoline prices around $4 a gallon in most parts of the country, the natural gas industry and their allies in Congress are ramping up their efforts to become a viable and mainstream transportation fuel alternative. Rep. John Sullivan [R, OK-1] and 76 original bipartisan co-sponsors recently introduced the"New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solution Act" that would provide about $5 billion in federal subsidies for trucking companies, vehicle owners and fueling stations to transition from gasoline and diesel to natural gas. In one weeks time, the bill more than doubled in co-sponsors -- it now has 178 -- and it appears set to move through the House quickly. But, given the negative environmental impacts of the hydraulic fracking process that would be used to expand natural gas production, is this really the answer to the most recent spike in gasoline prices?

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