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United States

BUDGET PROCESS STARTS

President Clinton's administration is proposing a relatively higher renewables budget for the US Department of Energy, about 13% more than this fiscal year. Pressure on Capitol Hill is expected to be immense as new and more conservative priorities emerge. Among other things, steps are being taken to overhaul environmental regulations, a move backed by a highly powerful alliance of big business, including electric utilities.

The White House is proposing $49.8 million for wind for fiscal year 1996, starting in October. The amount is almost the same as the US Congress initially budgeted for the wind programme this year, $49 million. That amount however was quietly reduced to $47.1 million once the fiscal year was under way. Overall President Clinton's administration is proposing a relatively higher renewables budget for the US Department of Energy of $326.4 million, about 13% more than this fiscal year. Pressure on Capitol Hill is expected to be immense as new and more conservative priorities emerge. Among other things, steps are being taken to overhaul environmental regulations, a move backed by a highly powerful alliance of big business including electric utilities. If environmental regulations are to be more scientifically backed, as a current bill suggests, utilities could be under less pressure to use clean fuel.

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