Don’t look now, but the Solyndra scandal is coming back up in the media. The now-defunct, politically-connected green energy company was given a sweetheart $500+ million loan from the Obama Administration back in 2009. By August 2011, Solyndra had filed for bankruptcy, leaving taxpayers on the hook for millions.
Supporters of heavily subsidized green energy projects downplayed cronyism, which runs rampant in the Obama Administration. But new e-mails show that a White House analyst warned that giving taxpayer money Solyndra would be a big mistake (emphasis mine):
As the Obama administration moved last year to bail out Solyndra, the embattled flagship of the president’s initiative to promote alternative energy, a White House budget analyst calculated that millions of taxpayer dollars might be saved by cutting the government’s losses, shuttering the company immediately and selling its assets, according to a congressional investigation.
Even so, senior officials in the White House’s Office of Management and Budget did not discourage the Energy Department from proceeding with its plan to restructure a federal loan to Solyndra — a move that put private investors ahead of taxpayers for repayment if the company closed, the investigation by Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee found.
According to the Lundberg Survey last week, while the national average for gasoline is approaching $4/gallon (prices having increased for 35 straight days), the highest gas prices in the nation are to be found in Chicago, which is reporting an average price of $4.27/gallon, with some stations charging as much as $4.60-$4.70 per gallon. I am tempted to feel sympathy for them, at least until I remember that they are the ones responsible for politically nurturing and elevating the current occupant of the White House to that esteemed position, a man that adores a statist, command-and-control economy where government dictates the terms under which goods and services are exchanged. When I think about that, I lose my religion and think they have not suffered enough.
Barack Obama, channeling his inner Bill Clinton (you remember him, the first black president), now tells us that he feels our pain but that, unfortunately, there is no “silver bullet” that will make gas prices come down in the short term. That may be the closest he has come to making a true statement on the subject since he told us as Candidate Obama that his policies would “necessarily cause energy prices to skyrocket”. Now faced with declining poll numbers and rising anger at the cost of gas, Obama does what every political charlatan does best…find a scapegoat.
President Barack Obama released his budget last week, nearly two months after the legal deadline. We all know that he wants another $1 trillion in tax hikes, but what else does Obama’s budget have in store for Americans?
The Heritage Foundation released a handy infographic last week that shows that Obama’s budget fails to get spending under control, wastes taxpayer money on more “green energy” projects, and doubles down on ObamaCare. The only point of disagreement here is on defense spending. It, like entitlements, will eventually have to be cut for reformed to bring the budget back to a sustainable rate:
Courtesy of Dan Mitchell, the Center for Freedom and Prosperity Foundation has produced a new video with American Enterprise Institute Scholar Lori Sanders which attempts to help you visualize just how wasteful President Obama’s policies and corrupt “green energy” programs have been:
Written by Tad DeHaven, a budget analyst at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.
Last week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed the “No More Solyndras Act.” As Taxpayers for Common Sense notes, however, the bill should probably be called the “More Solyndras Act” because it would still allow the Department of Energy to approve loan guarantee applications that were submitted by Dec. 31, 2011.
Today the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed the so-called “No More Solyndras Act.” While the bill includes some taxpayer protections, it does not go far enough to ensure the Department of Energy (DOE) Loan Guarantee Program does not lose more on defaulted loans that carry much higher price tags than defaulted solar panel manufacturer, Solyndra. As currently drafted, the bill leaves $34 billion in loan guarantees on the table for projects ranging from coal and nuclear to biofuels and solar. Because these projects were vetted through the same flawed process as Solyndra, this bill could easily lead to billions in defaulted projects.
Via Veronique de Rugy comes video of a May 16th hearing where Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) questions John Woolard of BrightSource Energy about a $1.6 billion loan his company received from the government.
Jordan directly asked Woolard whether the loan was based on the merits of the project his company was working on or some sort of political influence with the Obama Administration. Woolard, of course, says that it was the merit of the project. But in his questioning, Jordan shows an e-mail from Woolard to a Department of Energy official where he notes that there was indeed a direct conversation with President Barack Obama himself about the project.
There is more. Here is video:
The hearing was part of a push by House Republicans to look into the actions of the Obama Administration over green energy loans, many of which have went to politically connected companies, like Solyndra, which would later go bankrupt. Rep. Darrell Issa explained in a recent interview that there has to be some accountability in these loan programs, after all, this is taxpayer money that the Obama Administration has been handing out:
Last week, we told you about an EPA administrator who compared his agency’s treatment of the oil industry to how Romans treated villages they conquered. The comment was met with outrage in conservative circles, understandably so, and gave a peak into how the oil industry is truly viewed in the Obama Administration.
The Associated Press reported yesterday that the EPA administrator, Al Armendariz, who made the comment has now resigned and apologizes for what he said:
The Obama administration’s top environmental official in the oil-rich South Central region has resigned after Republicans targeted him over remarks made two years ago when he used the word “crucify” to describe how he would go after companies violating environmental laws.
In a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson sent Sunday, Al Armendariz says he regrets his words and stresses that they do not reflect his work as administrator of the five-state region including Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.
“I have come to the conclusion that my continued service will distract you and the agency from its important work,” Armendariz wrote in the letter, which was obtained by the AP.
Republicans in Congress had called for Armendariz’ firing after Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe highlighted the May 2010 speech last week as proof of what he refers to as EPA’s assault on energy, particularly the technique of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
President Barack Obama appointed Armendariz in November 2009 at the urging of Texas-based environmental groups.
The Left’s favorite conservative groups, Americans for Prosperity, launched a new campaign yesterday to run some $6 million worth of ads in swing states targeting Barack Obama over the wasteful 2009 stimulus bill and green energy proposals:
As you know, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) dropped his budget for FY 2013 on Tuesday. And unsurprisingly, the White House and Democrats are whining about the proposed spending cuts and reform measures. But White House Press Secretary Jay Carney took it a step further yesterday by hurling insults Ryan’s way because he is proposing cuts to President Barack Obama’s pet energy programs:
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney didn’t pull any punches in his attack on Paul Ryan’s budget, as he declared that supporters of the budget — and by extension, Ryan himself — are “aggressively and deliberately ignorant” about the need for green energy and other programs slated for cuts.
“You have to be aggressively and deliberately ignorant of the world economy not to know and understand that clean energy technologies are going to play a huge role in the 21st century,” Carney said after decrying the clean energy spending cuts in Ryan’s plan. “You have to have severely diminished capacity to understand what drives economic growth in industrialized countries in this century if you do not understand that education is the key that unlocks the door to prosperity,” he added.
Carney concluded that “the budget proposed by Chairman Ryan and supported overwhelmingly already by Republicans suggests that those problems” — aggressive ignorance and diminished comprehension — “exist in the minds of the supporters of that plan.”
Well, that’s classy.
Embattled solar cell company Solyndra is catching hell right about now. They’ve filed for bankruptcy, but if that’s not enough, they’re finding themselves drawing a lot of attention. That’s to be expected since President Obama highlighted a government loan to Solyndra as evidence that his green jobs program would jump start an industry that hasn’t been able to create profits for themselves.
So where is the mainstream media on this one? Well, ABC News has been on it, that’s for sure. They have obtained emails about how the White House monitored the loan made to Solyndra.
Newly uncovered emails show the White House closely monitored the Energy Department’s deliberations over a $535 million government loan to Solyndra, the politically-connected solar energy firm that recently went bankrupt and is now the subject of a criminal investigation.
The company’s solar panel factory was heralded as a centerpiece of the president’s green energy plan — billed as a way to jump start a promising new industry. And internal emails uncovered by investigators for the House Energy and Commerce Committee that were shared exclusively with ABC News show the Obama administration was keenly monitoring the progress of the loan, even as analysts were voicing serious concerns about the risk involved. “This deal is NOT ready for prime time,” one White House budget analyst wrote in a March 10, 2009 email, nine days before the administration formally announced the loan.