Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Trump Admin Sits on $43 Billion Intended for Clean Energy Loans While Unemployment Soars

Politics
Trump Admin Sits on $43 Billion Intended for Clean Energy Loans While Unemployment Soars
In September 2011, the DOE issued a $90.6 million loan guarantee to finance Alamosa, a 29.3-MW high concentration photovoltaic solar generation project in Colorado. The project started commercial operations in April 2012 and created 75 construction jobs and hundreds of supply chain jobs across several states. U.S. Department of Energy

While the nation struggles to find ways to put money in peoples' pockets and to ramp up the economy so people can get back to work, over $43 billion in low-interest loans earmarked for clean energy projects sits undistributed by the Trump administration, according to The New York Times.


The president has long questioned the efficacy of renewable energy sources, has suggested that wind turbines cause cancer, and championed coal as a clean and efficient source of power. Despite his reluctance to champion green energy infrastructure, some lawmakers and energy experts think it is unacceptable that tens of billions of dollars that Congress long ago authorized, with bipartisan support, has not been dispersed.

"We're searching high and low all over Washington, DC, for money to put people back to work and here we have more than $40 billion," said Dan Reicher, executive director of the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford University, who served at the Energy Department in the Clinton administration, to The New York Times. "This is the moment to really put these programs back in gear."

The loans passed through Congress well before the coronavirus forced nearly 30 million people into unemployment. However, they have been held up by the Energy Department.

"They haven't put out any or almost any of these loans since he's become president," said Representative Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, as The New York Times reported. "There's an ideological or political aspect to this. The president is not someone who seeks to promote the clean energy sector."

Holding up the loans during the pandemic seems particularly strange since the money could help many people to start working. Anne Reynolds with the Alliance for Clean Energy told POLITICO that energy efficiency companies have laid off between 40 and 50 percent of their workforce.

In New York, for example, the state saw layoffs to nearly 5,000 clean energy jobs in March. Congressman Pallone said that the renewable energy sector had created more than 3 million jobs.

"These utility-led programs could drive significant job and economic growth statewide as we step out of our current pause," said Reynolds, as POLITICO reported. "We are at risk of losing a skilled and trained workforce as work is stalled, and job losses and furloughs accelerate."

While an injection of capital would help restart green energy projects and allow companies to hire back employees, there is little reason to believe the Trump administration will issue any of the loans.

The last new project to be approved under the loan program was in 2016, under the Obama administration. To get the money out of the government's hands and into an investment in renewable energy infrastructure, Pallone said he plans to find a way to address the unspent loans in the next stimulus.

Florida Wildlife Federation / NBC2News / YouTube

In a dramatic rescue captured on camera, a Florida man ran into a pond and pried open an alligator's mouth in order to rescue his beloved puppy, all without dropping his cigar.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Imagesines / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Jean-Marc Neveu and Olivier Civil never expected to find themselves battling against disposable mask pollution.

When they founded their recycling start-up Plaxtil in 2017, it was textile waste they set their sights on. The project developed a process that turned fabrics into a new recyclable material they describe as "ecological plastic."

Read More Show Less

Trending

Fossil fuel companies received $110 billion in direct and indirect financial assistance during the coronavirus pandemic, including up to $15.2 billion in direct federal relief. Andrew Hart /

By Bret Wilkins

In a year in which the United States has already suffered 16 climate-driven extreme weather events causing more than $1 billion in economic damages, and as millions of American workers face loss of essential unemployment benefits due to congressional inaction, a report published Monday reveals the Trump administration has given fossil fuel companies as much as $15.2 billion in direct relief — and tens of billions more indirectly — through federal COVID-19 recovery programs since March.

Read More Show Less
Flint corn is an example of pre-contact food. Elenathewise / Getty Images

By Ashia Aubourg

As Thanksgiving approaches, some Indigenous organizations and activists caution against perpetuating further injustices towards Native communities. Indigenous activist Mariah Gladstone, for example, encourages eaters to celebrate the harvest time in ways that do not involve stereotypes and pilgrim stories.

Read More Show Less

By Alex Middleton

Losing weight and reducing fat is a hard battle to fight. Thankfully, there are fat burner supplements that help you gain your target body and goal. However, how would you know which supplement is right for you?

Read More Show Less