Last week was a rough one for the White House’s “green jobs” agenda: A House panel subpoenaed Team Obama over the stunning crash of solar-power firm Solyndra, and an Energy Department watchdog hinted there’s worse to come.
As for those green jobs?
Global warming will burn the earth to a crisp before they ever arrive.
First, the subpoena: President Obama’s folks have resisted a House Energy Committee probe of $535 million in federal loan guarantees that Solyndra snagged just before declaring bankruptcy this year.
House Republicans want internal White House e-mails and documents that show just who pressured Energy officials to fast-track the half-billion-dollar loan to the politically connected Solyndra, even as it became clear the project was a loser.
The White House admits the Solyndra documents exist. But its lawyers rejected the subpoena — and are threatening to invoke executive privilege.
Which is pure nonsense. As Energy Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said Friday, “Our request for documents is reasonable — we are not demanding the president’s Blackberry messages, as we are respectful of executive privilege. What is the West Wing trying to hide? We owe it to American taxpayers to find out.”
Precisely. And the more oversight of matters like these, the better — given the disastrous performance of Obama’s $35.9 billion green-energy loan program. Consider that the program has aided firms like:
* SunPower — which won a $1.2 billion loan backing. The firm posted a $150 million loss this year and its debt totals nearly 80 percent of its market value. (The Energy Department was caught scrubbing SunPower’s name from old press releases on its Web site. Oops.)
* Beacon Power — a $43 million loan winner that declared bankruptcy last week.
* Nevada Geothermal Power, a favorite of Sen. Harry Reid — which got $98.5 million in loan guarantees and $66 million in grants, but can’t produce enough energy to repay its loans. Its current stock price: a measly 11 cents per share.
The story here isn’t that Obama & Co. made a few poor bets with billions of dollars worth of taxpayer dollars (while making sure to reward friends and allies).
It’s that the whole program has been a misguided adventure — based on the false promise that green jobs can be sustained economically.
Apparently, they can’t — not even with federal support.
On Wednesday, Energy’s inspector general told Congress he’s leading over 100 probes into his agency’s $36 billion loan program.
That’s taking a piecemeal approach.
We could have told you this program was folly from the start.
Come to think of it, we did.
see also: Gordon Hughes: The Myth of Green Jobs