Barrasso: The Biden Administration’s Green Energy Priorities are a Recipe for Repeated Disaster

May 11, 2021

Click here to watch Ranking Member Barrasso’s remarks.  

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) delivered the following remarks on his investigative report titled, “The Solyndra Syndrome & the Green Stimulus Delusion.” The report examines the striking parallels between the failed green energy stimulus policies of the Obama administration and the policy priorities of the Biden administration.

Barrasso is ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR). 

Senator Barrasso’s remarks: 

“I’ve come to the floor today to discuss what I’ve seen happen now over the last 100 days of the Biden administration. 

“President Biden seems to be doubling down on some of the failures of the Obama administration. 

“Last week, as the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, I released a report. 

“It’s called the ‘Solyndra Syndrome and the Green Stimulus Delusion.’ 

“The 20-page report is an in-depth look at the failed green energy policies under the Obama administration. 

“Now what we’re seeing is President Biden is determined to repeat them, on a much larger scale. 

“In 2009, under the direction of President Obama, Democrats passed a partisan stimulus spending bill. 

“The legislation included $90 billion dollars for green job training, green energy loans, and high-speed rail. 

“It also included about three billion dollars for a program more commonly known as ‘Cash for Clunkers.’ 

“The goal was to produce millions of green energy jobs. 

“ They wanted to do it by investing taxpayer dollars in emerging green energy companies and also subsidize new vehicles.

“So what did American taxpayers get for all of this money? 

“What did they get as a return on this hefty investment? 

“They didn’t get the promised jobs.  

“They got boondoggles. 

“Billions of taxpayer dollars wound up wasted on green tech companies through loans or grants. 

“Several of these companies then failed. 

“The most famous of these was, of course, Solyndra.

“This was a solar panel company with many personal ties to the administration. 

“It was located in California and received over $500 million government-backed loan. 

“Vice President Biden at the time was actually the one who announced that Solyndra would receive hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars. 

“Not too long after that, headlines across the nation told the story of what happened next. 

“In September of 2011, the company failed miserably. 

“More than 1,000 workers lost their jobs. 

“Almost all of the $535 million taxpayer dollars were lost. 

“The leadership at Solyndra lied about the company’s value and what they could produce. 

“It also turns out they were big political donors to the Obama-Biden campaign and to Democrats.

“Obama-Biden donors got millions of grant money. 

“Taxpayers back then were left holding the bag. 

“It was a terrible green gamble and it had gone terribly wrong. 

“It wasn’t the only one of these projects. 

“Other companies like A123 Systems, Beacon Power, Ener1, and Fisker Automotive all received big government-backed loans, and they all went bankrupt. 

“The waste didn’t stop at loans to private companies. 

“The Obama administration gave a $3.5 billion grant to California for a high-speed rail project. 

“This was California’s planned bullet train. 

“It was supposed to go from Los Angeles to San Francisco. 

“Fast forward ten years, and let’s see where we are with that bullet train. 

“After skyrocketing project costs, the governor of California has recently thrown in the towel. 

“Only a fraction of the original project will be completed and delays continue to be announced. 

“So you might ask – why are they completing a small part of this railroad that’s supposed to go from Los Angeles to San Francisco? 

“Well by completing a small part of the original project, California can avoid having to pay back the taxpayers of the nation. 

“More wasted money. 

“Americans clearly remember ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program – what a program that was.

“It gave subsidies to folks for the purchase of new greener vehicles as a way to stimulate auto sales and industry jobs. 

“The big problem is it didn’t work. 

“One analysis found that the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program created one job for every $1.4 million spent – quite a lot of money for a single job. 

“The program itself was a clunker and it spent way too much taxpayer cash. 

“The list goes on and on as I’ve outlined in this report. 

“The Obama administration frittered away billions of taxpayer dollars. 

“They chose people close to the administration to receive the money. 

“The economy remained sluggish and taxpayers got fleeced. 

“There actually was one bright spot during the ‘Great Recession.’ 

“It was the oil and gas sector. 

“By the end of 2013, non-farm employment was an anemic 1.9 percent higher than it had been at the end of 2009. 

“In contrast, the oil and gas sector’s employment was 16 percent higher. 

“While the rest of the economy was stuck in the mud, the oil and gas sector was growing and creating American jobs. 

“That robust job growth helped make America energy independent and secure. 

“You would think the lessons from the failed 2009 stimulus and the U.S. energy boom would be obvious. 

“But the Biden administration seems blinded by the Solyndra Syndrome. 

“President Biden wants to use the exact same playbook now. 

“This time with a much heftier price tag. 

“The president wants to spend trillions of dollars – not just billions. 

“Included in that spending would be hundreds of billions of dollars in green jobs training programs, green energy financing, increased high-speed rail, new electric vehicles. 

“It’s the same plan that failed under President Obama. 

“At the same time as the Biden administration is recycling far-fetched, so-called jobs plans, the Biden administration is attacking existing oil and gas jobs – good jobs that people have today.  

“On his first day in office, President Biden signed an executive order to kill the Keystone XL Pipeline. 

“This eliminated the prospect of 11,000 American jobs. 

“Making matters worse, President Biden implemented a ban on new oil and gas production on public lands – huge impact on my home state of Wyoming. 

“A permanent ban on oil and gas leasing on federal lands could destroy up to 1 million jobs across America. 

“My report finds the Biden administration is pushing expensive fantasy jobs, and killing real ones at a time that America cannot afford to lose these jobs. 

“It’s a recipe for repeated disaster. 

“We all remember how President Obama promised ‘shovel ready jobs.’ 

“He then later admitted the jobs weren’t coming because ‘shovel ready was not as shovel ready as we expected.’ 

“We know we can expect the same thing this time. 

“The expensive, wasteful, job-killing Solyndra Syndrome is back. 

“It was a terrible idea in 2009. 

“Here we are, a dozen years later, once again spending a lot more on the same bad idea that is now even worse than before.”