Summer solstice, June 20-21, 2010, off Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard (By Aquinnah Wampanoag tribal member Jennifer Randolph)

Obama Probed on $2 Billion Politically Influenced Cape Wind Loan Request

Gale Courey Toensing

A congressional committee is probing President Obama’s “personal interest” in the Cape Wind energy project and the extent of his knowledge about White House officials pushing the Department of Energy to give the controversial offshore wind energy factory a $2 billion loan, according to e-mails obtained by a congressional committee.

The e-mails are part of a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee investigation into the Department of Energy’s (DOE) loan guarantee program for green energy development that included such failures as Solyndra, a solar cell manufacturer that went bankrupt last fall, defaulting on a $535 million loan of taxpayer money.

Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and Subcommittee Chairmen Jim Jordan and Trey Gowdy sent the president a letter August 8, 2012, saying they had obtained documents “that raise questions about how your interactions with business leaders at political events affected decisions to give billions of taxpayer dollars in loan guarantees to green energy companies through the Department of Energy’s 1705 Loan Guarantee Program.” The DOE had denied Cape Wind’s request for a $2 billion loan in May 2011, but a June 16, 2011 e-mail from Jonathan Silver, a political appointee who was director of the loan program, indicates the administration continued to pressure the department to approve the loan. In an e-mail to Peter O’Rourke, another senior DOE official, Silver says,   “[G]et Cape Wind done by Sept. 30. That’s more important to the president.” September 30 was a deadline for loan approvals.

The Cape Wind project was a test case for the Obama administration’s claimed commitment to honor the needs and laws concerning Indian nations. The controversial private development project, which has been touted by the Obama administration as America’s first offshore wind farm, proposes to construct 130 turbines across 25 square miles of public waters in Nantucket Sound where they would tower 440 feet above ocean level. The installation would obliterate the Mashpee and Aquinnah Wampanoag tribes’ unimpeded view of the rising sun, ruining a crucial ceremony that is central to their identity. The project is vigorously opposed by the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, a non-profit umbrella group for dozens of elected officials, towns, tourism and business organizations, environmental groups, fishermen, aviation and boating organizations, and residents and still has several lawsuits pending against it.

The committee letter goes on to say that the investigation found the Federal Aviation Administration approved the Cape Wind project in 2010 despite safety concerns. That approval was revoked last October by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and remanded back to the agency for review. “On numerous occasions FAA officials stated they were aware of the ‘politics’ of the decision and that Cape Wind ‘was being moved by politics,’” the committee members write. They cite an April 1, 2011, e-mail from Angela Havens, manager of the FAA Operations Support Center in Boston to a manager in Washington asking for information about “the political implications associated with the Cape Wind project.” A month later, Richard Hastings, FAA’s Eastern Service Area Program and Requirements Terminal Team Manager, presented a slide show showing the “political implications” of the Cape Wind project, committee members write. “In addition to describing political apprehension about refusing to approve Cape Wind, a slide in the presentation stated, ‘The Secretary of the Interior has approved this project. … The Administration is under pressure to promote green energy production.”  These e-mails, the members write to Obama, “create the appearance that your perceived personal desire to see the Cape Wind project move forward may have led to political pressure on FAA officials to approve the project.”

The committee has asked Obama for addition information, documents and other information regarding the loan guarantee program by August 21. “The American people have a right to know the level of involvement you and other senior White House officials had in the loan guarantee program,” the committee members wrote.

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husbandofmoonlight's picture
Submitted by husbandofmoonlight on
An excellently written article and another example of the "classic signs" of collapse that the USA is exhibiting these days. So just to throw up a "comparitive example"-----the one group complains about money spent on a failed company---$535 ml.(*) which in reality was money spent on at least something FOR the USA---and its population; independent actions against the oil/fossil fuel companies and their monopoly on 'energy'. While at the same time the same "conservative members of both houses"--as well as all of the others it seems---will willingly remain silent about the $4 BILLION dollars per year to Israel---or the fact that the USA is "borrowing" ALL of that money they "throw around like sailors and marines on shore leave" (I've been there and I've seen it)---from Communist China. Forty years ago if you had even said something like that even at home---behind closed doors; your "folks/familia" might have been compelled to have you commited----for treatmemnt of "really really crazy". Hey folks, the USA is in a major decline and the historical record reveals that when an "Empire is in decline"----they tend to take their occupied members and others with them. Not if we stand in true unity. * That 535 million DOLLARS represents----63 days (approximately) of "military aid" to Israel----where NO one but the Israelis benefit from that aid. Thanks for your time. Husband of Moonlight