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TheStreet Open House

Congress Wants $900 Million in Clean Energy Cuts

Stocks in this article: HEVAONEBWENFSLRSPWRACLNEWPRT

The natural gas vehicle companies, including Westport Innovations (WPRT) and Clean Energy Fuels (CLNE) have also come into 2011 hoping that this will be the year that the Natural Gas Act is finally passed into law after its failure to find a legislative vehicle in 2010.

In his analysis of the Congressional budget cut request, FBR Capital analyst Salisbury noted that the proposal would cut nearly $2 billion from the EPA and $3 billion from the Department of Energy.

"Although we expect the President to continue lobbying for expanding clean-energy research and manufacturing, we believe that downward spending pressure makes very large new programs, such as electric car grants and natural gas vehicles, unlikely," the FBR analyst wrote on Thursday morning.

However, the analyst added in a note of potential political opportunity, "summer gas prices and a more Republican majority more favorable to natural gas could change this dynamic."

Yet the debate between Democrats supporting President Obama's "Win the Future" plan and the deficit hawks in the opposition leaves out one important voice in the debate: the American people.

In fact, a recent Gallup poll of Americans indicated that there is widespread support for alternative energy legislation, above all other legislative priorities.

Passing an "energy bill that provides incentives for using solar and other alternative energy sources" had the most bi-partisan support among Americans polled by Gallup in mid-January. Roughly 83% of Americans support the idea, an even higher percentage of Americans than support overhauling the U.S. tax code and speeding up the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, which had the second- and third-highest levels of public support.

Only 15% of those included in the Gallup poll were opposed to an alternative energy focused energy bill.

Notably, the alternative energy concept had more widespread support than legislation to support traditional oil and gas drilling. The Gallup poll found that 65% of Americans support a bill to expand drilling and exploration for oil and gas, while 33% oppose it.

Gallup concluded from its poll results that "With Republicans in control of the House of Representatives and Democrats in control of the Senate, it would appear the proposals with the best chances of passing are those that generate strong bipartisan support. That is clearly the case for a bill that would provide incentives for increased use of alternative energy."



-- Written by Eric Rosenbaum from New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Eric Rosenbaum.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to Eric Rosenbaum.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.

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