The Obama administration continues to move forward with its “green” agenda, despite new concerns on the heels of a high-profile bankruptcy in the solar-energy sector. More recently, approximately 500 Texans lost their jobs Monday because of Environmental Protection Agency regulations on the energy industry.
And the president has offered no specific regulatory relief, other than a single ozone regulatory proposal he nullified a few weeks ago.
Former Sen. Kit Bond, a Republican from Missouri and the former ranking member of a “green jobs” Senate subcommittee, told The Daily Caller he has warned the administration and the American people about the perils of agenda-driven green jobs programs before, to no avail.
“This was a very important subject when we raised it in the spring of 2009, and again in the summer of 2010, but people didn’t really catch on,” Bond told TheDC. “Now, I’m watching the regular news media; even CNBC has figured it out.”
While in the Senate, Bond authored a report just after Obama took office predicting much of what has happened with the “green jobs” agenda. Promised technologies have not panned out economically, and few new U.S. jobs have resulted.
“As we talk about stimulus, people might want to dig deeply into the green jobs initiatives, even high speed rail, to make sure we don’t spend money in very wasteful, unproductive ways,” Bond said. (RELATED: Auditor warned of Solyndra before Obama visit)
Since Republicans took over the House of Representatives in November, they have used their oversight and investigative authority to examine Obama’s green jobs spending and learn where the money has gone. One specific Congressional investigation, into the now-bankrupt solar panel company Solyndra, uncovered how the company burned through more than $500 million of taxpayer money before plummeting into insolvency.
While feeding Solyndra taxpayer cash, the Obama administration ignored Government Accountability Office and Office of Management and Budget reports and warnings that the money wasn’t being spent efficiently, or that there may something more sinister happening.
Rep. Cliff Stearns, the chairman of House Energy and Commerce committee’s subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, said the administration’s green jobs and new energy technology agendas have provably failed. Stearns said the administration needs to take GAO and OMB reports seriously, especially since they deal with how taxpayer money is being spent.
“I think they only have to give money out on the technical basis of people, and not on the basis of anything political,” Stearns said at a Heritage Foundation blogger briefing on Tuesday. “I think this whole idea that the president is going to create jobs in America from this green technology is suspect. We are a country that has a huge amount of resources, both in coal and gas and oil.”
“Canada now is taking oil from the shales up there in Alberta,” the Florida Republican Congressman added. “They are exporting oil and they are making money. I think the president should realize that green energy is not going to be a solution, and take the energy sources we have and become an exporter, and become independent of these 22 Arab countries, and not spend all this money for this technology which is not viable economically.”
Looking back, Bond adds that he thinks the administration has been able to spend so freely on “green” jobs programs because it has done so largely behind closed doors. “I think, if the public knew about it, they would be putting a little more pressure on to spend money wisely,” Bond said.
Moving forward, Institute for Energy Research state and regulatory affairs director Dan Simmons said there is “no indication” Obama has learned from the Solyndra debacle.
“Since the Solyndra bankruptcy news broke last week, the administration has doled about hundreds of millions in new loan guarantees,” Simmons told TheDC in an email. “There is every indication that the Obama administration will continue to grow the green jobs bubble to try and prove that the billions they have spent so far have not been wasted.”
Simmons said he expects environmentalists to “continue to push a green jobs agenda” even though it hold little promise to create jobs.
“For environmentalists, the green jobs agenda accomplishes two of their goals–it rewards companies and industries they like; and it increases the price of energy,” Simmons said. “The Solyndra debacle could be a real challenge for the President in 2012. It is suspicious how quickly the Department of Energy approved a huge loan to a company backed by one of the President’s largest bundlers.”
As for how Solyndra should be viewed, Stearns said it’s not just a minor blip on Washington’s economic radar.
“It’s a full blown scandal,” he said. Without citing specifics because of ongoing investigations, Stearns said he and other lawmakers expect several other “guaranteed loan” recipients based on “green technology,” like Solyndra, to go bankrupt.
The White House did not respond to TheDC’s requests for comment.