Chu: Solyndra Wasn't About Politics

Energy chief defends loan to Congress
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 17, 2011 1:54 PM CST

(Newser) – Energy Secretary Steven Chu offered a spirited defense of his department’s loan guarantees to Solyndra today, telling Congress that the loan program is necessary to keep US alternative energy companies competitive, and insisting that he didn’t know Solyndra was connected to a major Obama fundraiser, the Washington Post reports. “Countries like China are playing to win in the solar industry,” Chu said. When lawmakers said his department should have known Solyndra was in trouble, he countered that most analysts “were not expecting those prices to plummet.”

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Chu was testifying before the House Energy Commerce Committee, in a hearing tinged with politics. Chairman Cliff Stearns said it was “readily apparent” that the Obama administration “put politics before stewardship of the taxpayers’ dollars.” Henry Waxman, meanwhile, admonished Republicans for “dancing on Solyndra’s grave” for political reasons. Asked if the loan was a “political favor,” Chu insisted it “was absolutely made only on the merits” and that “we did not communicate with the White House about whether we should approve the loan.” (Read more Steven Chu stories.)

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