As presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden delivers a major speech Tuesday on his plans for a “clean energy future,” the Trump campaign is pointing to his ties to the Solyndra solar-power debacle as an example of how Mr. Biden would wreck the U.S. energy market.
Noting Mr. Biden’s embrace of Democrats so-called “Green New Deal,” House Republican Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana said a Biden administration would rely heavily on government aid for clean energy production.
“They’re already talking about $2 trillion in taxpayer subsidies,” Mr. Scalise told reporters in a conference call organized by the Trump campaign. “That is Solyndra on steroids. It’s a track record of failure.”
In 2009, then-Vice President Biden announced a $534 million federal loan guarantee for Solyndra, a California solar energy company, as part of the administration’s economic stimulus plan. He predicted it would create thousands of jobs to produce solar panels for rooftops across America.
“By investing in the infrastructure and technology of the future, we are not only creating jobs today, but laying the foundation for long-term growth in the 21st-century economy,” Mr. Biden said at the time.
Instead, the company went bankrupt two years later. Solyndra executives eventually took the Fifth Amendment at a congressional hearing probing alleged inappropriate dealings between the company and the Obama White House.
The Biden campaign said Tuesday that the Democrat’s plans for a “clean energy revolution” would include establishing an “Environmental and Climate Justice Division” within the Justice Department to prosecute corporate polluters to the fullest extent of the law.
“Under the Trump administration, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has referred the fewest number of criminal anti-pollution cases to the Justice Department in 30 years,” the Biden campaign said. “Allowing corporations to continue to pollute — affecting the health and safety of both their workers and surrounding communities — without consequences, perpetuates an egregious abuse of power.”
Mr. Scalise, who took part in a congressional investigation of the deal, said Mr. Biden “actually put pressure on the Treasury Department to approve this Solyndra loan for over $500 million of taxpayer money, even when people in Treasury were warning that it was going to be a failure.”
“Can you imagine if we now give Joe Biden $2 trillion of taxpayer money?” Mr. Scalise asked. “We’ll see Solyndras all across the nation and a failed energy policy, which would lead to higher energy costs and lost jobs.”
He said Mr. Trump’s policies have led to the U.S. becoming dominant in energy production, including oil and natural gas.
“Once we get through this pandemic, President Trump’s the best suited to rebuild our economy,” Mr. Scalise said.