from Energy, Security, and Climate and Energy Security and Climate Change Program

Budget Deal Casualties

April 28, 2011

Blog Post
Blog posts represent the views of CFR fellows and staff and not those of CFR, which takes no institutional positions.

The EIA got slammed by the budget deal, which cut its FY11 funding by $15.2 million from its FY10 level of $110.6 million. It’s just announced the efforts that it will have to terminate as a result (hat tip: the indispensable RFF Library Blog). The result is pretty ugly. What are we missing out on in order to save a whopping $15.2 milion, or roughly a nickel for every American ? Here are a few highlights:

  • “Do not prepare or publish 2011 edition of the annual data release on U.S. proved oil and natural gas reserves.” Great idea at a time when our understanding of domestic reserves is rapidly changing due to technological shifts (shale gas, tight oil). Policymakers will need to rely on industry claims when thinking through how much oil and gas the United States has.
  • “Curtail efforts to understand linkages between physical energy markets and financial trading.” Nothing relevant to our current predicament here. Though, from some of the soundbites being thrown around in the “are speculators to blame?” debate, maybe people don’t really want to know what’s going on.
  • “Terminate updates to EIA’s International Energy Statistics.” For those who aren’t EIA aficionados, these are basically the go-to statistics for analysts and governments around the world.
  • “Halt preparation of the 2012 edition of EIA’s International Energy Outlook.” This is one of the basic references points for discussions on where things are headed. Want to know what the USG thinks will happen to Chinese oil demand and emissions over the next decade? Perhaps it’s best not to ask for a while.
  • “Eliminate annual published inventory of Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States.” Oh, and don’t ask for detailed information about U.S. emissions either.

Congratulations to those policymakers who thought that cutting the EIA budget would be wise: You’ve managed to lose a few ounces of weight by removing a small sliver of your brain. Don’t count on the EIA to help you out in a pinch, though: they’re going to “limit responses to requests from policymakers for special analyses” too.