September 15, 2011

Manchin: We Can’t Stack the Deck And Squander Hundreds of Millions of Taxpayer Dollars

Citing $500 million Solyndra loan debacle, Manchin says in hearing that the government should not funnel money toward one energy resource while ignoring much-needed research into using our abundant natural resources more efficiently

***Audio, Pathfire Available*** 

Senator Manchin also emphasizes important work at West Virginia’s own NETL facility 

Washington, D.C.– U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) pressed several nominees to the U.S. Department of Energy in an Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing today about serious problems with a federal green energy loan program, the need for energy independence and the federal government’s failures in picking winners and losers in the energy sector. He also promoted the important research being done at West Virginia’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.  

Senator Manchin said that for the sake of the country’s security and economic vitality, the Administration shouldn’t stack the deck in favor of one energy resource, especially when hundreds of millions of hard-earned taxpayer dollars are squandered in the process. Senator Manchin sharply questioned the nominees about the federal government’s efforts to create a market for solar energy where little enthusiasm exists, particularly with U.S. taxpayers on the hook for repaying more than half a billion dollars in government-guaranteed loans for Solyndra, a California solar panel manufacturer that recently declared bankruptcy. 

“Do you advocate us trying to make a market when the market is not there, or the product cannot compete in the marketplace?” Senator Manchin asked the nominees, after questioning them about their support for energy independence. “Coming from an energy producing state and being a fossil fuel state – which seems to be demonized right now by many people around this country – I have said all along, everyone should say a prayer for the people who produce the energy that gives us the life we have. With that, [West Virginia] is doing everything that we can…In West Virginia, we have more wind power than most any state east of the Mississippi….We are using our hydro, we’re using wind, we’re using biofuels. We are doing it all. But we know our staple – our mainstay – has been coal and now, our natural gas. With Marcellus, we can be a game changer for the United States of America. We just feel like we are hitting a brick wall…We’d like to have our government as our partner and not our adversary.”  

Senator Manchin also highlighted the important work of the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Morgantown, and their critical research into clean coal and other domestic energy sources. Coal-fueled power plants generate nearly half of the electrical power in the United States.     

“If you look at India and you look at China, most of their dollars right now for kilowatt power are coming from fossil. Because it’s what they have. We’re not going to change that. What we could do is change, by proportionally putting money into research of clean coal technology, of CO2 capturing, and using the waste from CO2 as we did from SO2,” Senator Manchin said. “We are not proportionally putting the money there because we are trying to pick winners and losers by pushing it somewhere else. I am a firm believer that we need to produce or provide the research that will find the fuel of the future.”


Nominees included at the hearing included: 

  • Gregory H. Woods for General Counsel;
  • David T. Danielson for Assistant Secretary of Energy for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE); 
  • LaDoris G. Harris for Director for the Office of Minority Economic Impact

Senator Manchin’s September 11 message is available on Pathfire. Instructions for accessing Pathfire are available:

Audio is available here: manchin 091511.mp3 

Web video is available here: