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Colorado Lawmaker Wants To Cut Renewable Energy Funds

DENVER (AP) -- Colorado congressman Doug Lamborn is one of nine House members asking that funds be yanked from programs that finance the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in suburban Denver.

The request by the Republican from Colorado Springs and others was sent Thursday to the House Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development.

The lawmakers ask that funding in the 2012 budget be eliminated for the Department of Energy's Office of Science and Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy programs because they "have failed to live up to their supposed potential."

If the research funded by the programs is revolutionary and promising, private investors should be competing to secure a piece of "this new energy cornucopia," the letter says.

The programs fund the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, which conducts research and works with companies to market new technologies.

A spokeswoman said Lamborn was on a plane and unavailable to comment Friday.

Eliminating the funding likely would face a tough battle in the Democratic-controlled Senate and with President Barack Obama, who has promoted renewable energy.

Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter, whose district includes the lab in Golden, will fight efforts in the House to cut the funding, said Leslie Oliver, his spokeswoman.

Perlmutter said in a statement that the lab affects more than 5,500 public and private jobs in Colorado.

"These are good jobs here and good jobs now for thousands of Coloradans," Perlmutter said. "Their innovation and technological advancements, both in the public and private sector, will lead our nation toward long term economic security and energy independence."

The national lab contributes $714 million to the Colorado economy, according to an analysis released by the University of Colorado earlier this year. The full-time workforce grew from 917 in 2007 to the current 2,300.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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