Democrats: GOP Using Solyndra To Attack Renewables, Help Fossil Fuels

By Simon Lomax, energyNow!

Republicans lawmakers are using their investigation of Solyndra, a California solar company that went bankrupt last month despite a $535 million loan guarantee from the Obama administration, to undermine renewable energy companies and help the fossil-fuel industry, congressional Democrats said Friday.

“Instead of helping America lead the world in clean energy, the Republican-controlled House is doing everything possible to maintain our addiction to fossil fuels and cripple renewable energy companies,” U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s top Democrat, said at a hearing on the Solyndra bankruptcy Friday.


image via Solyndra

The hearing was called to question U.S. Treasury officials about their agency’s involvement in the Solyndra loan guarantee, which was awarded by the Department of Energy in 2009. The loan was later restructured in an effort to save Solyndra, and private investors were given priority over the U.S. government for the first $75 million raised if the company went bankrupt and its assets liquidated. Republicans on the committee say Treasury officials questioned the legality of paying private investors before taxpayers.

“Senior officials at the Department of Treasury were not sufficiently consulted about the restructuring and when they offered their opinions and warning signs, they were ignored like so many of the others along the way,” said U.S. Representative Cliff Stearns (R-FL), the lawmaker leading the committee’s Solyndra investigation.

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) accused the Republicans leading the Solyndra investigation of being more interesting in “generating headlines” than “fact finding.” But Stearns said the committee’s investigation is being run fairly and said Waxman’s comments were “outrageous.”

Stearns also responded to criticism from President Obama and other Democrats, who seized on the Florida lawmakers recent comments on renewable energy competition between the U.S. and China. Stearns told NPR earlier this month that the U.S. “can’t compete with China to make solar panels and wind turbines.” Stearns said his remarks were “taken out of context.”

“I simply pointed out the fact that China, which subsidizes their solar manufacturing at $30 billion a year, has fewer regulations, lower labor costs, access to raw materials and a lack of environmental and safety regulations,” Stearns said. “I think the United States should focus where we have a competitive advantage.”

Editor’s Note: This news story comes to us as a cross post courtesy of energyNow! Author credit for the news story goes to Simon Lomax.

I am the editor-in-chief and founder for EarthTechling. This site is my desire to bring the world of green technology to consumers in a timely and informative matter. Prior to this my previous ventures have included a strong freelance writing career and time spent at Silicon Valley start ups.

1 Comment

  • Reply October 17, 2011

    Chris Parkinson

    Solyndra did nothing wrong. I ask the BK court to establish a trustee and he or she hire myself as CEO. I can drive Solyndra right and into profitability. I know what went wrong, can rectify the issues, but certain investors would rather see the junk sale of the company and they made whole again. They knew the risk, now it is time to take this behemoth and turn it into a profit engine as it is designed to do. As CEO I will work for $1 per year be given preferred stock, and in one year turn the company around. Better than a ten cents on the dollar fire sale Republicans want, so they do a “See I told you so”

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