On June 28, 2010 I had talked about how New York U. S. Senator Charles E. Schumer was fighting President Obama’s proposed $37 million cut from the DOE’s hydrogen research budget.
This comes a little more than a year after President Obama proposed cutting $100 million from the hydrogen research budget including zeroing out the budget for hydrogen auto research, which was thankfully restored by Congress.
Like all other budget cuts there is a human element to this recent proposal. For instance, in upstate New York, there are 400 highly trained engineers working for General Motors who may lose their jobs. These are working on Project Driveway and producing Chevy Equinox Fuel Cell vehicles. Some of this funding is provided by the U. S. Department of Energy.
This will also impact other jobs in private business and the jobs of university academics who are working on hydrogen and fuel cell research for autos. In a faltering economy that is all about jobs, jobs, jobs, why would the President be cutting high tech green sector jobs right now?
In other similar green news, President Obama has proposed to award $2 billion in funding for solar energy. Now, I’m all for this funding and believe more should be directly towards solar energy. But, solar energy does not move autos down the highway (at least not directly), so why pick one form of alternative energy to fund while kicking another one under the proverbial bus?
Sometimes this dance between the auto companies and government seems like a soap opera to me. In 1999, GM decided to discontinue selling the electric auto and eventually crush it. The government played a significant role in pushing the auto companies to make this decision.
Now fast forward to today, where companies like GM and Honda have stated that they have more faith in hydrogen autos than battery electric vehicles (in the long run). Now the government wants to crush the hydrogen auto and whack the auto companies on the nose with a rolled up newspaper until they once again make battery electric autos.
Did our Federal government save GM just so they could kick them down and push them around? Luckily we have Senator Schumer and many other Congressmen on our side to fight for the future of hydrogen autos. And perhaps this is all we need to get us through until next year.