The latest batch of e-mails documenting the Obama administration's involvement in a $535 million federal loan to bankrupt solar company Solyndra has liberals scrambling to point fingers at an array of perceived villains. Whether fairly or not, Republicans are using the flawed investment to attack the whole lot of government-led green investments. Here's what Democrats are saying to push back:
Solyndra misled us As Politico's Darren Samuelsohn notes, blaming the solar company has become a favored talking point on the Hill. "Democrats argue they were lulled into complacency by Solyndra executives who said all would be well once they restructured operations. They say they didn’t really start paying attention until this month’s FBI raid on the company and its late August bankruptcy protection filing." Daniel Weiss, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, adds "The reality is no one outside the company had any idea they were in such dire straits.”
Bush approved of Solyndra too Stephen Lacy at Climate Progress emphasizes that "the loan guarantee came together under both administrations" noting that "The Bush team tried to conditionally approve the Solyndra loan just before President Obama took office." In January 2009, Lacy notes that "in an effort to show it has done something to support renewable energy, the Bush Administration tries to take Solyndra before a DOE credit review committee before President Obama is inaugurated." Pushing back against the claim, Philip Klein at The Washington Examiner notes that a committee background memo stipulates that "a recommendation for approval" was "premature at this time.” Politico adds that "Democrats also noted that Schwarzenegger attended Solyndra’s groundbreaking."
We wouldn't be in this mess if we had passed cap and trade Tom Friedman at The New York Times says "I wasn’t surprised to read that the solar panel company Solyndra, which got $535 million in loan guarantees from the Department of Energy to make solar panels in America, filed for bankruptcy protection two weeks ago and laid off 1,100 workers... There is only one effective, sustainable way to produce “green jobs,” and that is with a fixed, durable, long-term price signal that raises the price of dirty fuels and thereby creates sustained consumer demand for, and sustained private sector investment in, renewables."
It's China's fault notes Stephen Lacy at Climate Progress: "Armed with tens of billions in loans from the Chinese government, Chinese solar companies have scaled at a rate unthinkable only a few years ago. At the end of this year, there will likely be 50,000 MW of manufacturing capacity in place around the world, with much of that new capacity being developed in China and other Asian countries. (In the year 2000, there was only 100 MW of production capacity world-wide.)" The Washington Post's Ezra Klein pushes back, slightly, against the idea, saying "it wasn’t China that caused Solyndra to go belly-up — the company had invented a solar panel that didn’t use silicon, unlike its competitors, and foundered after silicon prices plummeted."