President Trump Proposes Reducing and Refocusing Environment And Energy Spending

The Heartland Institute cites Senior Fellow Marlo Lewis on ARPA-E:

ARPA-E is unnecessary because the private sector already has the incentives and resources to undertake the agency’s programs, and businesses and people don’t need the government’s guidance to make the energy choices that work best for them, says Marlo Lewis Jr., a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

“ARPA-E’s budget itself states ‘the private sector has the primary role in taking risks to finance the deployment of commercially viable projects and government’s best use of taxpayer funding is in earlier stage R&D,’” Lewis said. “Although ARPA-E’s $38.5 million program to ‘develop technologies to rehabilitate natural gas distribution pipelines’ is a worthwhile idea, natural gas distributors have the most to gain, and their sales vastly exceed $38.5 million a day, so there is no reason taxpayers should be on the hook for pipeline rehab R&D.

“Competitive markets already drive businesses to cut costs, including energy expenditures, and consumers already have an incentive to purchase energy-efficient appliances provided those appliances do not cost too much and actually perform as advertised, so there is little need for additional government support for investment in energy efficiency,” Lewis said.

The Trump administration should go even further and end federal ownership of electric power infrastructure, Lewis says.

“It is high time to begin reducing or even eliminating the federal government’s role in electricity transmission infrastructure ownership,” Lewis said. “Allowing private ownership of federal dams, for example, would introduce more market-based incentives, encouraging a more efficient allocation of economic resources, allowing rate competition, and mitigating risk to taxpayers.”

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