The House Committee on Energy and Commerce released an analysis on Friday that harshly criticized President Barack Obama’s “green jobs” initiative as wholly unsuccessful in achieving its goal of spurring job creation and economic growth.
“It clearly hasn’t created many jobs, and when its direct and indirect impacts are taken into account, it may well be costing them,” according to the analysis, which was authored by committee staff.
The committee does not oppose clean energy technologies altogether, but instead aims to criticize the administration’s failed effort to create millions of environmentally friendly jobs, according to the report.
The committee report described the push toward creating green jobs as “an experiment” funded by the much-maligned 2009 stimulus bill, which led to some noteworthy and politically embarrassing failures. For example, the report noted, the federal government allocated $1.2 billion in subsidies to the Shepherd’s Flat wind farm in return for an estimated 35 permanent jobs — at a staggering cost of $34 million per job.
After also touching on the $535 million given to the now-bankrupt and disgraced solar energy firm Solyndra, the committee report stated that the president’s green jobs plan, marred by political favoritism, has failed to meet the administration’s “lofty” predictions.
They report further noted that, although American manufacturers are relatively the cleanest and most efficient in the world, strict regulations have made it difficult for these companies to compete with Chinese manufacturers that produce significantly greater emissions.
The committee report also took issue with the fundamental definitional problem of what, precisely, constitutes a green job.
The Bureau of Labor and Statistic defines green jobs, which the president has aggressively promoted, as “jobs in which workers’ duties involve making their establishment’s production process more environmentally friendly.”
But earlier this month, California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa challenged that broad definition during a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing. Under questioning from Issa, Bureau of Labor Statistics Acting Commissioner John Galvin admitted that even a janitor at a solar panel plant would count as having a green job.
David Kreutzer, a Research Fellow in Energy, Economics and Climate at The Heritage Foundation, claimed the Obama administration’s definition of a green job is “so broad as to make any green-job total meaningless.”
The Obama administration, however, said it stands by its green agenda.
“We have a record of success that has created tens of thousands of jobs and is ensuring that America is not ceding these industries to countries like China,” White House spokesman Clark Stevens said earlier this year. “Thanks to the investments we’ve made, these industries will continue to grow, along with the jobs they create.”
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