The Democrat-controlled Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing today [Tuesday] which could turn the table on the House's highly politicized hearings condemning the Obama administration's administration of the Congress-passed energy loan program. Energy Sec. Steven Chu will testify.
"More than $16 billion in loans authorized five years ago by Congress to develop fuel-efficient vehicles has yet to be disbursed, with applicants for the money complaining that the Energy Department is crippling plans for greener cars and trucks at a time of rising gas prices.
Some companies contend that the loans, administered by energy officials, have dried up because of a political firestorm that followed the bankruptcy last year of the solar panel company Solyndra, which had received a federal loan from a related program. The bankruptcy fed Republican criticism of the Obama administration’s handling of clean energy loans because one of the investors in Solyndra was a major fund-raiser for the president.
'Since Solyndra became politicized last fall, the Department of Energy has failed to make any other loans,' said William Santana Li, chief executive of Carbon Motors, which on Wednesday dropped its $310 million application to build police cars with diesel engines that use 40 percent less fuel than current models.
Echoing other companies that were denied loans or have withdrawn their applications, Mr. Li said that in recent months federal officials had repeatedly altered the terms of the possible loans. Last month, Chrysler withdrew its application for $3.5 billion in loans — after three years of negotiations — because the government kept raising the amount of collateral required, company officials said."