Solyndra Shutdown is Straw that Broke the Solar Panel
As Green Jobs Fizzle, White House Should End War on Fossil Fuels
Washington, D.C. - In the wake of the half-billion-taxpayer-dollar bankruptcy of "green" manufacturer Solyndra, members of the Project 21 black leadership network are criticizing the high cost and low yield of the Obama White House's "green jobs" agenda. They say tax dollars could be better spent on educational choice scholarships for kids in underperforming schools and jobs could better be created by ending Obama Administration regulations preventing their creation.
"The Obama Administration -- with its liberal, government-knows-best policies that choose winners and losers -- gave our hard-earned tax dollars to Solyndra in the name of creating green jobs. Now, it seems that stimulus money simply flowed down the drain," said Project 21 spokeswoman Shelby Emmett. "How sad. We could have alternatively spent that money on our children living in the inner cities. It could have paid for scholarships for them to attend a quality school of their parents choosing to 'stimulate' their minds and promote future job creation by creating opportunities they don't have now. That would have been an investment in our futures and definitely not a waste of taxpayer dollars!"
Solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, which declared bankruptcy this month, was a stimulus recipient. It did not create the 1,100 jobs Obama personally boasted it would. In fact, Solyndra's bankruptcy caused the layoff of over 1,000 employees. The loss to taxpayers on Solyndra's loan guarantee could go as high as $527 million.
During his presidential campaign, Obama pledged he would "create 5 million green jobs." His $38.6 billion loan guarantee program, passed as part of the 2009 stimulus bill, set a more modest goal of creating or saving 60,000 jobs (downgraded from an initial 65,000). So far, the Department of Energy reports only 3,545 new permanent jobs have been created after half of the money has been disbursed. If the program were to meet it's goal, the average new job would cost over $640,000 to create. The cost is over $5.4 million per job presently.
Solyndra's bankruptcy follows the August bankruptcy filings of two other solar companies that received stimulus money: Evergreen Solar, Inc. and SpectraWatt.
Meanwhile, the fossil fuel industry, which is creating and maintaining jobs, faces an uncertain future in the current regulatory environment. After a drilling moratorium was imposed by the Obama Administration last year, 19,000 oil industry-related jobs are said to have been lost in the Gulf of Mexico region. An analysis of government data related to the EPA's proposed Transport Rule and Utility MACT requirements, conducted by National Economic Research Associates, estimates that the regulations will lead to a loss of 1.4 million job-years related to coal-fired energy production by 2020 (a job-year equals one job for one year).
"This administration implemented moratoriums on drilling and regulations on mining while advancing the growth of the green energy sector," said Project 21 spokeswoman Cherylyn Harley LeBon, a small businesswoman and former senior Counsel for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. "Unfortunately, this President's inability to exercise due diligence -- as evidenced by the Solyndra debacle -- has caused other reliable industries such as fossil fuels to suffer under increased regulatory burdens. Of course, the people who ultimately suffer are the consumers who experience higher energy costs more burdens on small businesses."
Extraction of natural gas from Marcellus Shale in Appalachia is estimated to have created at least 48,000 jobs, but radical environmentalists are pressuring the White House and regional leaders to halt hydraulic fracturing that is vital to the process.
"Solyndra's spectacular failure is the straw that broke solar energy's back. Even with massive government subsidies, solar energy can't compete in the energy marketplace -- proving it's not ready for primetime," said Project 21 Fellow Deneen Borelli. "Solar energy failed to create jobs in Spain and it's similarly failing in America. Tragically, Obama is chasing renewable energy rainbows and, by doing so, has wasted billions of our tax dollars. Americans need jobs now. Good-paying jobs can be created in the coal, oil and natural gas industries. Obama needs to cease his war on fossil fuels so Americans can get back to work."
In 2009, a National Center for Public Policy Research-commissioned poll of black Americans regarding economic and environmental priorities found that 76 percent of black Americans wanted Congress to focus on economic recovery over environmental goals. Focusing on "cap-and-trade" emissions regulations under consideration in Congress at the time (which failed in Congress, but the Obama Administration would like to implement through the EPA), 52 percent of those surveyed didn't want to pay anything more for gas or electricity in exchange for such regulation, and 56 percent felt lawmakers ignored economic and quality of life concerns in the black community when addressing such environmental issues.
Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives since 1992, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research (http://www.nationalcenter.org).