GOP Hypocrisy on Display Yesterday, Voting to Protect Nuclear, Fossil Fuel Loan Guarantees
WASHINGTON (August 2, 2012) – Energy and Commerce Republicans today released their “report” on their specious probe into the solar firm Solyndra. Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) today excoriated the GOP for their coordinated, specific attack against clean energy, personified by this report and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s stated opposition this week to a key tax credit for the wind industry and other clean energy sources. The Production Tax Credit is set to expire at the end of this year for the American wind industry, which could lead to 40,000 workers losing their jobs.
“Mitt Romney and Republicans in Congress are trying to deliver a knockout blow to clean energy through this one-two punch of investigating solar companies and forcing wind companies to lay off 40,000 workers. At the same time, they are protecting tens of billions of dollars in handouts to the nuclear and fossil fuel industries that are supporting their campaigns,” said Rep. Markey, the top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee and a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. “The Solyndra investigation hasn’t uncovered a scandal, but instead has created a symbol for Republicans to appease their fossil fuel fundraisers and eliminate competition for oil, coal and nuclear energy.”
Republican hypocrisy over their stated goal of oversight and the picking of winners and losers in the energy market was put on display yesterday when Rep. Markey offered an amendment to the “No More Solyndras Act” that was passed out of the Energy and Commerce Committee. His amendment would have eliminated the loan guarantee program entirely, unlike the Republican bill which grandfathers more than $100 billion in applications that are still in the pipeline for nuclear, coal and other energy projects. All but three Committee Republicans voted against the amendment.
Rep. Markey also offered other amendments to prevent the Department of Energy from awarding loan guarantees to troubled nuclear projects favored by Republicans that were also defeated. These included amendments to prevent loan guarantees from being awarded to companies threatened with delisting from stock exchanges (such as the United States Enrichment Corporation, which has a $2 billion loan guarantee application pending), companies whose net losses in the past year exceed the $535 million value of the Solyndra loan guarantee (such as the United States Enrichment Corporation) and companies whose projects are already more than $535 million over budget (such as Georgia Power Company, which has had its $8.3 billion nuclear loan guarantee application conditionally approved). Republicans also rejected an amendment to ensure that 75 percent of each project’s loan guarantee funds are not used to outsource jobs, a charge levied by Republicans against the Obama Administration’s clean energy programs.
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