An Express Lane for Solyndra, A Roadblock for Others

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is a political committee devoted to maintaining and increasing the 239-member Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.

We now know that the Obama administration forced the ill-fated $535 million loan to Solyndra to be approved in a mere 24 hours so the administration could send out a press release celebrating the stimulus loan:

OBAMA TREASURY “WAS GIVEN ONE DAY” TO REVIEW $535 MILLION SOLYNDRA LOAN BECAUSE ENERGY DEPT. WANTED TO ANNOUNCE LOAN: “The U.S. Treasury Department was given one day to review Solyndra LLC’s $535 million U.S. loan guarantee after learning the Energy Department was ready to announce the award publicly, according to a Treasury audit.” (Alison Vekshin, “Solyndra’s Loan Guarantee ‘Was Rushed,’ Treasury Audit Says,” Bloomberg, 4/4/2012)

OBAMA CLAIMED SOLYNDRA WENT THROUGH “THE REGULAR REVIEW PROCESS”: “Obama has defended the Solyndra loan, which had been the poster child of the administration’s green jobs push, telling ABC News last month that ‘hindsight is always 20/20.’

“ ‘It went through the regular review process, and people felt like this was a good bet,’ he said.” (Devin Dwyer, “For Sale: The Banner that Greeted Obama at Solyndra,” ABC News, 11/2/2011)

This rare display of haste contrasts sharply with the Obama administration’s extensive efforts to stonewall approval for the Keystone XL pipeline for years:

KEYSTONE DEVELOPER SPENT 3.5 YEARS AND AT LEAST $1.9 BILLION WAITING FOR THE DEMOCRATS’ KEYSTONE APPROVAL: “The administration seems to think that it can use environmental claptrap to convince the American public that it is behaving ethically and legally in denying the TransCanada permit, even after the company has spent $1.9 billion over 40 months carefully adhering to the federal regulatory process. And a lot of Americans will not have the time or inclination to get into the weeds on this issue.” (Mary Anastasia O’Grady, “Obama’s Keystone Delay Flouts the Law,” The Wall Street Journal, 4/6/2012)

MORE THAN THREE MONTHS SINCE CONGRESS DEMANDED OBAMA APPROVE THE PIPELINE: (“Waiting for the Keystone XL Pipeline,” House Energy & Commerce Committee, 4/6/2012)


20,000: THE NUMBER OF SHOVEL-READY JOBS FROM KEYSTONE PIPELINE BLOCKED BY OBAMA: (Editorial, “Keystone Cop-Out,” The Wall Street Journal, 11/11/2011)

130,000 JOBS: THE LONG-TERM JOBS IMPACT OF THE KEYSTONE PIPELINE, ALSO BLOCKED BY OBAMA: “Many of those 20,000 jobs on the construction of the pipeline would have been filled by skilled union members. Eventually, the completed pipeline was expected to result in as many as 130,000 jobs, many of them on the upper Texas Coast, where the heavy oil would be refined into 700,000 barrels of oil daily.” (Editorial, “Keystone Pipeline is the Wrong Call,” The Houston Chronicle, 11/11/2011)

NATIONAL JOURNAL ANALYSIS: “U.S. ECONOMY MISSED OUT ON CREATING UP TO A QUARTER-MILLION JOBS” IN 2011 BECAUSE IT “LACKED [ENERGY] INFRASTRUCTURE”: “The U.S. economy missed out on creating up to a quarter-million jobs this year because it lacked the infrastructure to capitalize on a rare divergence in global oil prices, a National Journal analysis shows.” (Jim Tankersley, “A Crude Hit to the Recovery,” National Journal, 11/29/2011)

INCREASING ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE THROUGH KEYSTONE XL WOULD LIMIT PRICE SPIKES IN FUTURE: “There’s no evidence that the oil industry manipulated the price spread to boost refining profits; the companies just appear to be benefiting from the nation’s inability to move cheaper oil around freely. Energy industry groups say expanding America’s pipeline infrastructure – including potential Obama administration approval of the Keystone XL pipeline to carry oil south from Canada – would minimize the odds of another wide price split in the future.” (Jim Tankersley, “A Crude Hit to the Recovery,” National Journal, 11/29/2011)

The Democrats’ Keystone rejection is just one area where they have practiced the art of strategic delay. New drilling permits continue to lag under the Obama administration, and those that have been issued have taken months longer than they did under previous administrations:

92 DAYS FOR PERMIT APPROVAL, 31 DAYS LONGER THAN HISTORICAL AVERAGE: (Editorial, “‘Stupid’ and Oil Prices,” The Wall Street Journal, 2/24/2012)

23% OF DRILLING PLANS APPROVED, COMPARED TO HISTORICAL AVERAGE OF 73.4%: (Editorial, “‘Stupid’ and Oil Prices,” The Wall Street Journal, 2/24/2012)

1/2: THE RATE AT WHICH OBAMA IS ISSUING NEW DEEP-WATER DRILLING PERMITS RELATIVE TO THE HISTORICAL AVERAGE: “According to the Greater New Orleans Gulf Permits Index for January 31, over the previous three months the feds issued an average of three deep-water drilling permits a month compared to the historical average of seven.” (Editorial, “‘Stupid’ and Oil Prices,” The Wall Street Journal, 2/24/2012)

1/3: THE RATE AT WHICH OBAMA IS ISSUING NEW SHALLOW-WATER DRILLING PERMITS RELATIVE TO THE HISTORICAL AVERAGE: “Over the same three months, the feds approved an average of 4.7 shallow-water permits a month, compared to the historical average of 14.7.” (Editorial, “‘Stupid’ and Oil Prices,” The Wall Street Journal, 2/24/2012)

IHS STUDY: OBAMA ADMIN SLOWWALKING PERMITS AFTER MORATORIUM OFFICIALLY ENDED: “A study by the business-consultant firm IHS found that the federal government issued 51 new drilling permits in the year following the lifting of the drilling moratorium. That was down from 157 annual permits approved before the regulations took effect.” (Bill McMorris, “Obama’s Energy Slowdown,” The Washington Free Beacon, 3/13/2012)

GULF BUSINESSES FRET THAT “PERMITORIUM” REMAINS IN PLACE: “They're calling it a ‘permitorium’ caused by stricter regulations that are allowing gulf drilling, but at a snail's pace, in both deep and shallow water.” (Katie Moore, “New Study: Small Businesses Hit Hardest by Drilling Delays,” WWL TV, 1/31/2012)

SEN. MARY LANDREIU (D-LA): SMALL BUSINESSES ARE SUFFERING BECAUSE OF OBAMA’S DRILLING MORATORIUM, NOT “BIG OIL COMPANIES”: “I want to say that, despite the administration’s arguments that are laid out, that you all are all guns blaring and green lights for drilling, the facts that I checked, and if you disagree tell me, only 21 permits for offshore drilling have been issued by this date. In 2010, there were 32 permits. I just left the annual conference of LOGA, which is Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, Mr. Secretary, yesterday. They are beside themselves with not being able to get their permits processed and to answer you, Mr. Franken, let me just say Exxon and Shell may be making record profits but according to a study recently done by the Greater New Orleans, Inc., 41 percent of our oil and gas independent operators and service companies, I’m not talking about Exxon and Shell that have operations all over the world, I’m talking about companies in the Gulf Coast, in Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama. Let me tell you what the studies show about their profits: 41 percent of them are not making a profit at all, 70 percent have lost significant cash reserves, 46 have moved operations away from the Gulf, and 82 percent of business owners have lost personal savings as a result of this slow down.” (Remarks from Sen. Mary Landrieu, U.S. Senate Hearing, 2/28/2012)


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