|September 16, 2011|
|Solyndra Downfall Bad for Cleantech PR|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|PR firms that were once salivating over the prospects of hefty cleantech retainers are now closely monitoring the D.C. tussle over the bankruptcy of Solyndra, the solar company that received $535M in federal loan guarantees. |
Under intense pressure from highly government-subsidized Chinese competitors, Solyndra went belly-up late August. It fired 1,110 workers.
That corporate downfall is indeed music to the ears of those opposed to President Obama’s jobs program.
The president came to Washington with the promise to create hundreds of thousands of greentech jobs. He’s delivered on that. David Foster, executive director of the BlueGreen Alliance, a labor union and environmental group coalition, says the Recovery Act created or saved 997K jobs in areas like advanced battery production and energy-efficient projects. He maintains that $46B in federal investment attracted about $150B in additional private sector money.
That’s a good return on investment.
In today’s highly-charged D.C. environment, Solyndra is the “poster child” of how the president was supposed to create jobs. That’s what Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said today:
“And now we’re hearing reports that the White House fast-tracked a half billion dollar loan to a politically connected energy firm that their own analysts said wasn’t ready for prime time. This place was supposed to be the poster child of how the original stimulus would create jobs. Now it’s bankrupt and most of its 1,100 employees are out of work. And they want a stimulus.”
McConnell’s and the GOP’s strategy is as plain as day: position Solyndra as Obama’s Enron.
If that’s allowed to happen, the Republicans will choke off federal support for cleantech, which would be a national tragedy for all, but Big Oil. The U.S. will blow any hope of regaining leadership in a business that it pioneered.
And as for PR firms: good-bye to those hefty cleantech retainers. It surely was a sweet dream.
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