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Head of energy loan program leaving

WASHINGTON, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- Jonathan Silver, who approved a $535 million U.S. government loan to the solar company Solyndra, said Thursday he is leaving the Energy Department.

Solyndra went bankrupt and closed down Aug. 31. Republicans in Congress have held hearings on the loan, suggesting approval was rushed because President Barack Obama was planning to visit the California company.

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Officials with the Energy Department said Silver has been planning his departure since July because funding for the loan program stopped at the end of the fiscal year, The Washington Post reported.

"Because of my absolute confidence in Jonathan and the outstanding work he has done, I would welcome his continued service at the Department, but I completely understand the decision he has made," Energy Secretary Steven Chu said.

Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee say Silver was in a "mad rush" to approve loans before the fiscal year ended Sept. 30. They suggested some of those loans might be problematic as well.

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