Report Suggests Solyndra-Like Problems in Federal Nuclear Power Loan Guarantee

The Obama administration’s approval of a federal loan guarantee for the construction of two Georgia nuclear reactors was met with applause from across the political spectrum, but new analysis reveals potential Solyndra-like problems facing the project.

“E-mails indicate periodic involvement by the Secretary of Energy on loans and loan terms, and by the White House and top levels of Department of the Treasury on other issues related to the Vogtle Project,” reads the analysis by Earth Track and Synapse Energy Economics, which was conducted on behalf of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and Friends of the Earth.

Earth Track and Synapse Energy Economics analyzed hundreds of documents obtained through multiple Freedom of Information Act requests.

They shed light on potential problems with the loan guarantee process for the Vogtle nuclear reactors in Georgia, including indications of political involvement from the Obama administration in key financial decisions.

“We are not alleging … any improper conduct. However, it is clear that top officials are engaged and interested in trying to make the Vogtle loan guarantee work,” Max Chang, a report author and associate at Synapse Energy Economics, told reporters in a teleconference.

Read more from this story HERE.

House GOP Snookers Public Again: “No More Solyndras” Bill Allows $90 Billion of Solyndras

Four groups – Taxpayers for Common Sense, Heritage Foundation, National Taxpayers Union and the Competitive Enterprise Institute – warned today that a number of energy boondoggles would remain in the federal pipeline under the No More Solyndras Act.

While the “No More Solyndras Act” would limit federal loan guarantees for future energy projects, it would allow dozens of major projects already in the federal pipeline to move forward. The four groups are concerned that a number of the “zombie” projects that would be allowed to live could be, in fact, even more costly to taxpayers than the widely publicized Solyndra loan-guarantee failure. So instead of being a fix for what ails the federal loan guarantee program, the No More Solyndras Act would countenance exactly the opposite of what its name suggests: the prospect of more Solyndra-like loan guarantee defaults, on an even larger financial scale.

Ryan Alexander, president, Taxpayers for Common Sense, said:

Despite some merits, ‘The No More Solyndras Act’ has a glaring loophole that should have it redubbed the ‘Even More Solyndras Act.’ The bill protects roughly 50 projects in the pipeline, including one that could cost taxpayers 15 times more than we lost on Solyndra. Lawmakers need to stop the program from putting taxpayers on the hook for billions in loan guarantees instead of passing bait and switch legislation.

Andrew Moylan, vice president, National Taxpayers Union, said:

The ‘No More Solyndras Act’ is an important effort to protect taxpayers against future losses from reckless energy loan guarantees, but it doesn’t do nearly enough to address boondoggles that were approved under the same failed regime that lost over $500 million on the Solyndra bankruptcy. While it takes the vital step of preventing new loan guarantees and improving transparency, Americans could still be on the hook for struggling multi-billion dollar projects. The House should amend the bill to strengthen provisions dealing with loan guarantee applications already in the pipeline to ensure that these ‘zombie’ projects don’t draw any more blood from taxpayers.

William Yeatmen, energy policy analyst, Competitive Enterprise Institute, said:

The No More Solyndras Act has a major flaw. The bill would end the Energy Department’s clean energy bank, which is great and is why we support it, but the fact is it sunsets the program too late to stop most of these subsidies from going out the door. Despite the bill’s weakness, it has engendered bipartisan opposition. These days, unfortunately, it seems that the only thing that both political parties can agree on is the merit of pork barrel politics.

Jack Spencer, senior research fellow, nuclear energy policy, Heritage Foundation, said:

The No More Solyndras Act begins to protect taxpayers from future bad bets the government makes with market-distorting loan guarantees. While setting a definitive end date to the program is important, this will not remedy the problem of loan guarantees still lurking out there. The legislation could be strengthened by ensuring that the risk of any loan that moves ahead is objectively determined and not skewed for or against any technology or project. It’s also important for the legislation to make sure the training wheels come off as soon as possible by requiring that the loan be privately refinanced once the project begins operations. To be clear, however, the federal government needs to get out of the commercial finance business altogether. The bottom line is that there is no set of protections that can make a loan guarantee program good, you can only stop the bleeding. No more Solyndras helps stop the bleeding.

Read more from this story HERE.

GOP to Pass ‘No More Solyndras Act’ when Congress returns

House Republicans will pass a bill next week that suspends new loans for clean-energy companies under the Department of Energy program that loaned nearly $530 million Solyndra, the failed solar panel producer that Republicans have targeted as an example of government waste.

Under the “No More Solyndras Act,” H.R. 6213, any similar applications for government loans made in 2012 could not be accepted, and any applications submitted before 2012 could only be approved after a Treasury Department review of the proposed financial terms of the loan.

In addition, any loans approved would have to be reported in full detail within 60 days. Any violation of the bill would subject related officials to penalties, including a fine of at least $10,000 and up to $50,000.

The bill finds that the Obama administration pursued a “green jobs” agenda with the use of $90 billion in program funding in the 2009 stimulus bill, in addition to $47 billion in loan guarantees from various appropriations bills that can be used under the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

The stimulus bill also created a new loan program for commercial technology, and Solyndra was one of several companies that benefited from this new program. Solyndra and two other recipients of the same program have since declared bankruptcy.

Read more from this story HERE.

The Top 25 Underreported Democrat Scandals

Harry Reid Rejects CutsThe media has covered many of these scandals, but not to the extent to which they have covered topics like Mitt Romney’s dog on vacation or the GOP presidential candidate’s tax returns:

1. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is implicated in a breaking scandal, pushing for government funding of the Chinese green energy company ENN Mojave Energy LLC, which is apparently represented by his son. Earlier, Reid was involved in a land swindle that saw him make a reported $700,000. – See Las Vegas Review-Journal, August 3, 2012 and Media Matters, October 18, 2006

2. Solyndra, the now-bankrupt solar energy company, was able to procure $535 million in government loan guarantees. This was after the Obama campaign received over a $100,000 in donations from the “green energy” company, partly bundled for the Obama campaign by major investor and oilman George Kaiser. — See WSJ, September 9, 2011

3. Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner confessed that he tweeted a bulging-underpants photo of himself to a young woman and admitted to “inappropriate” exchanges with six women before and after getting married at a press conference in New York shortly before resigning. – See Huffington Post, June 6, 2011

4. Former Governor Elliot Spitzer resigned after it was discovered he had engaged in financial transactions with prostitute Ashley Dupre. Spitzer is pictured above holding a press conference with his humiliated wife Silda Wall. Spitzer later landed a short-running show on CNN. – See NY Daily News, June 23, 2010

5. In 2008, John Edwards admitted he had cheated on his cancer-stricken wife, Elizabeth, with former campaign staffer Rielle Hunter during his second presidential campaign. He was later indicted June 2011 on federal campaign finance charges. – See Huffington Post, June 1, 2012

Read more from this story HERE.

Video: Obama official testifies that the Green Energy loan subsidies have been “an enormous success”

An “enormous success”? What planet are these folks living on? Listen to this short video clip of an Obama official (David G. Frantz, Acting Executive Director of the Loan Program Office for the U.S. Department of Energy) testifying before a House subcommittee yesterday.



Photo credit: charlesfettinger