The Obama Administration is not deterred from its unbroken losing streak as it insists on trying its luck by picking winners and losers. The aggressive policies of the Energy Department, headed by Steven Chu, keep on hitting the racetrack and placing all bets on the long shots in the Green Jobs sector.
While the now-bankrupt Solyndra garnered $535 million in loan guarantees backed by the federal government, the Energy Department has doubled down on a bigger horse, SunPower, with a whopping investment of $1.2 billion dollars in taxpayer dollars from its Loan Programs Office. The Green Jobs-obsessed Obama Administration has rolled the dice with an eye-popping total of nearly $40 billion dollars in ill thought out loan guarantees.
As I detailed in my last post, Artificial Stimulus produced Artificial Recovery, linked here, the failed Solyndra loan was accompanied by multiple loans to other green technology companies that utterly failed.
Rep. George Miller, III, Democrat from California, commented on his big win for SunPower:
By fostering a business climate that encourages companies like SunPower, even more good jobs will be created locally, we’ll reduce demand for dirty energy sources, and we’ll cut customers’ utility bills. That’s the right direction.
Interior secretary Kenneth Salazar maintains the wisdom of yet another shaky pick by the Energy Department. (Come on, it’s a sure bet, this time!)
The path to a clean energy economy starts here, in places like SunPower’s research and development facility.
The work that comes from these facilities transforms renewable energy ideas into a reality. When renewable energy companies continue to invest in places like California, the realization of a new energy future is within our reach.
However, weeks before receiving the government backed loan, SunPower announced that the new plant creating green jobs would be located in Mexico.
Harold Hamm reaches a different set of conclusions altogether and shared his insights with the Wall Street Journal:
President Obama is riding the wrong horse on energy. We can’t come anywhere near the scale of energy production to achieve energy independence by pouring tax dollars into ‘green energy’ sources like wind and solar, he argues. It has to come from oil and gas.
Harold Hamm, the founder and CEO of oil company Continental Resources, went to Washington last month. Hamm forcefully argued that the United States could be “completely energy independent by the end of the decade. We can be the Saudi Arabia of oil and natural gas in the 21st century.”
Hamm argued against the failed policies of the Obama administration and its zealous minions who seek to pour millions and billions of taxpayer dollars down the drain of Green Energy companies. Government backed loans for bankrupt companies is merely a quixotic pursuit of adopting green energy to power the massive American economy. However, the free market’s reluctance to invest further should be a flashing road sign warning of the foolhardiness of tossing money at an “old green mare.” When the technology and cost effectiveness of Green Technology warrants investment, the private sector’s venture capitalists will ante up with investment funds. Government spending has failed miserably, wasting billions in taxpayer dollars when America can least afford to squander shrinking revenues on losers that cannot survive in a competitive economy. The Green Energy companies are too green to produce jobs or even to stay afloat. No amount of priming the pump with precious dollars from U.S. citizens has changed this stubborn reality.
Hamm and his soaring Continental Resources has had jaw dropping success in the newest advancements in fossil fuel exploration. His experiences and success have become legendary in the industry.
Hamm was one of the pioneers of “horizontal drilling” which has unlocked huge, new stores of domestic fossil fuels. He was the original discoverer of the gigantic Bakken oil fields of Montana and North Dakota. The U.S Geological Survey estimate was around four or five billion barrels. But the oil man with the Midas touch asserts that that estimate falls woefully short.
“No way. We estimate that the entire field, fully developed, in Bakken is 24 billion barrels.”
Harold Hamm has been the leader of the resurgence of the oil industry that has now become the “fastest-growing manufacturing sector” in the nation and has positioned the U.S. in third place among oil producers in the world.
Due to the perfect alignment of the stars, or some Invisible Hand, the controlling power of OPEC is simultaneously falling. OPEC no longer controls market share or dictates price. Although the U.S. Imported about two-thirds of its oil in the 1990’s, today we import less than half of it with 40% coming from Canada and Mexico.
At last, North America may achieve energy independence. So what could stop that success now?
The ideological bent of President Obama and his likeminded administration members continue to thwart the opportunity for a prosperous America and real job creation with job-killing policies and personal forays into “venture socialism.”
Hamm was invited to a “giving summit” along with other wealthy Americans like Buffett and Gates. When it was Mr. Hamm’s turn to talk briefly with President Obama, “I told him of the revolution in the oil and gas industry and how we have the capacity to produce enough oil to enable America to replace OPEC. I wanted to make sure he knew about this.”
The president’s reaction?
He turned to me and said, ‘Oil and gas will be important for the next few years. But we need to go on to green and alternative energy. [Energy] Secretary [Steven] Chu has assured me that within five years, we can have a battery developed that will make a car with the equivalent of 130 miles per gallon.’ Even if you believed that, why would you want to stop oil and gas development? It was pretty disappointing.
Currently, Continental Resources is facing charges brought by the Obama Justice Department for the death of a SINGLE bird in North Dakota under the Migratory Bird Act. Meanwhile, no charges are filed against the preferred wind industry, which kills over 400,000 birds each year. And with drilling permits difficult to procure and this antagonistic Administration’s policy proposals, such as raising $40 billion in taxes on the oil and gas industry, drilling companies face difficult road blocks.
The job creation record of Hamm’s company is staggering:
Mr. Hamm believes that if Mr. Obama truly wants more job creation, he should study North Dakota, the state with the lowest unemployment rate in the nation at 3.5%. He swears that number is overstated: ‘We can’t find any unemployed people up there. The state has 18,000 unfilled jobs…And these are jobs that pay $60,000 to $80,000 a year.’ The economy is expanding so fast that North Dakota has a housing shortage. Thanks to the oil boom—Continental pays more than $50 million in state taxes a year—the state has a budget surplus and is considering ending income and property taxes.
So what is stopping the U.S. from achieving energy independence today? The failed policies of the Obama administration intent on squandering piles of revenue on Green Energy which has failed to create jobs while impeding the success of the fastest-growing manufacturing sector.