Q&A #5: Markey And The Solyndra Investigation

"Michael Graham," who may or may not be a slightly goofy-looking conservative radio talk-show host in Boston (congrats on the drive-time slot, BTW), sends the following Ask Me Anything Day question via email -- perhaps for fear of being caught on the Boston Phoenix web site:

With the Energy Oversight Committee's hearings on Solyndra happening literally as I type, is anyone in the MA media going to ask committee member Ed Markey about his vote against even issuing a subpoena? Or about his public claims that the DOE/WH were "cooperating fully" back in July, before we saw the emails warning of Solyndra disaster?

They don't need to ask; Markey is upping the ante on this one. (BTW, this is the beginning of my new campaign to replace the overused "doubling down" cliche with the out-of-favor "upping the ante" cliche; please join the cause.) Here in full is a release I received, perhaps literally as you were typing, in which Markey makes clear that from now on his answer to "why don't you investigate Solyndra?" will be "oh yeah - why don't YOU investigate THIS?" (bolding in original):

With the G.O.P. continuing to hurl accusations about the renewable energy loan guarantee program and House Republicans ratcheting up efforts to attack clean energy, today Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), called on Chairmen Fred Upton and Cliff Stearns to hold hearings on the implementation of the nuclear power plant loan guarantee program, the issuance of the conditional nuclear loan guarantee that has been awarded, and the role the nuclear industry has had in altering the terms associated with subordination. The Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded an $8.3 billion conditional loan guarantee to Georgia Power Company to build 2 new nuclear reactors.

“There are many legitimate public policy considerations that Congress should explore regarding the full suite of the Department’s loan guarantee programs,” wrote Rep. Markey, top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee and a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. “We should subject the nuclear loan guarantee program to the same level of rigorous scrutiny as we are now insisting the solar loan guarantee program undergo.”

A copy of the letter to Chairmen Upton and Stearns can be found HERE.

Republicans recently have alleged that DOE acted illegally in restructuring the Solyndra deal by putting private investors ahead of taxpayers for loan reimbursement. However, a review of public documents found that the authority to subordinate the taxpayer interest behind that of some private investors’ in the event of bankruptcy or liquidation was strongly advocated for by the nuclear industry and adopted by DOE in an open regulatory process in 2009. Rep. Markey’s letter provides a timeline that indicates the nuclear industry, alongside major utilities, publicly pressured DOE and Congress to both hasten the implementation of the loan guarantee program as well as allow private investors to jump ahead of taxpayers in the reimbursement line. Public documents reveal a series of public comments, testimony and correspondence dated back to 2007 that highlight a concerted effort on the part of the nuclear industry to convince policy-makers to provide more funding to the nuclear industry and alter the subordination requirements associated with loan guarantees.


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