OVERNIGHT ENERGY: White House, Energy Department seek green tech momentum

NEWS BITES:

Stearns blasts DOE for issuing loan guarantees ahead of deadline

A top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee blasted the Energy Department for moving quickly to finalize a series of loan guarantees by the end of the month.

The Energy Department’s loan-guarantee program for renewable, advanced biofuels and electric transmission projects is set to expire Friday. The department is moving to finalize a handful of conditional loan commitments totaling several billion dollars before the program sunsets.

“Solyndra was the product of a bad bet rushed out the door, and taxpayers are now on the hook,” Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), chairman of the Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, said in a news release. “We cannot afford DOE rushing out more Solyndras in these final hours.”


DOE finalized two loan guarantees for solar projects Wednesday, totaling more than $1 billion.

Grassley to top stimulus watchdog: Did you know Solyndra would go bankrupt?

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) asked the official in charge of overseeing the distribution of stimulus funds whether there were any indications of Solyndra’s financial troubles.

“Whenever tax money goes out, especially in the billions of dollars, there’s tremendous potential for waste, fraud and abuse without checks and balances,” Grassley said in a letter to the chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board. “The stimulus oversight office should do everything it can to fill in the knowledge gaps regarding what happened to the $528 million in stimulus funds given to Solyndra.”

Solyndra filed for bankruptcy this month, about two years after receiving a half-billion-dollar loan guarantee from the Obama administration. The bankruptcy has launched a series of investigations into the loan guarantee.

Daily Caller EPA story elicits jeers

The Daily Caller is under fire for a story that misrepresented an Obama administration court filing to claim that the Environmental Protection Agency will seek to hire up to 230,000 people (quite a jump for an agency that now employs 17,000) and spend $21 billion annually to implement climate-change rules.

The court filing actually described what EPA is seeking to avoid with a policy that seeks to limit climate-change regulations to large industrial polluters. But that didn’t stop Sen. James Inhofe’s (R-Okla.) office from circulating the item, or Fox News or the National Review from picking it up.

Mother Jones, Politico, the watchdog group Media Matters for America and The Washington Post’s Plum Line, among others, have unwrapped The Daily Caller story.

But The Daily Caller is defending the item to the Post and other outlets.

ON TAP THURSDAY:

Interior to tout wilderness agenda

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and his top deputy will hold a conference call to “discuss the Department’s continued progress in building a bipartisan wilderness agenda supported by members of Congress, state and local officials, and tribes and federal land managers,” according to a news release.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

Here’s a quick roundup of Wednesday’s E2 stories:

- Poll: Solyndra ‘not dinner table conversation’ yet
- EPA ‘strongly disagrees’ with inspector general climate finding
- Energy Department approves $1 billion in solar energy loan guarantees
- EPA inspector general faults climate document peer review
- EPA delays auto emissions, mileage rule rollout 

Please send tips and comments to Ben Geman, ben.geman@thehill.com, and Andrew Restuccia, arestuccia@thehill.com.

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