GOP urges caution in clean energy race

Sept. 29, 2011 at 9:07 AM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- With billions of dollars of taxpayer money on the line, the U.S. Department of Energy shouldn't rush out with more clean energy loans, a critic said.

Republican critics of U.S. President Barack Obama's green energy initiatives have drawn a bead on Energy Department loan guarantees to companies working on alternative energy projects. The department recently moved ahead with $1 billion in loan guarantees to two solar energy projects.

Lawmakers in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives started investigations after solar power company Solyndra, recipient of a $535 million Energy Department loan, declared bankruptcy.

U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., chairman of a House energy oversight subcommittee, in a statement, expressed concern over the pace at which the Energy Department was issuing new loan guarantees in the wake of the Solyndra debacle.

Stearns said he was worried that Washington was preparing to "rush out" with $5 billion in loans within the next two days.

"We cannot afford (the Energy Department) rushing out more Solyndras in these final hours," he said in a statement.

As an economic powerhouse, Beijing is moving to include more renewable energy on the national grid. The country set a goal of increasing its solar power capacity significantly in five years.

European countries, meanwhile, have set environmental goals that far exceed those in the United States.

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