Ryan Budget Bad for Clean Energy: Rep. Waxman

Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s budget represents the "wrong direction" for clean energy policy, Rep. Henry Waxman told CNBC’s “Closing Bell” on Tuesday.

Henry Waxman
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Henry Waxman

“The Department of Energy’s efforts to move in the direction of a clean energy portfolio are wiped out by the 50 percent reduction in the Ryan budget for clean energy programs,” Waxman, D-Calif., said. “That means cuts in wind, solar and geothermal.”

On the campaign trail in Colorado on Tuesday, Ryan emphasized the need for the U.S. to develop its own energy resources. "We have our own oil and gas," he said. "We have nuclear. We have all of the above, winds, solar, coal, let's use it.”

Even after U.S. taxpayers lost over $500 million on a bad government bet on solar company Solyndra, Waxman still sees a need for the government to support the industry. (See Also: Solyndra Owes Over $500 Million to Taxpayers).

“The private sector won’t pony up [for clean energy projects] unless we have things like loan guarantees for risky projects,” said Waxman, the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Waxman also said the United States will have a better economy when it develops clean energy. “We’ll be less dependent on oil and less dependent on countries that ship oil to us,” Waxman said.

While the cost of these clean energy investments is high, Waxman said, “It costs more until you get the scale to lower the costs. That’s why it’s hard for newer, cleaner energy to compete.”

He said without government support, these new industries will be unsustainable. "And then we'll only have coal and only have oil and those people will be in control of everything," he said.

He also criticized the Ryan budget for maintaining $40 billion in tax subsidies over the next decade for the oil industry.