Energy Panel Advances Bill to End Energy Loan Program

A Republican-led panel advanced a bill to bar the U.S. from issuing loan guarantees for energy projects submitted since Jan. 1, a deadline Democrats said would keep some cleaner-coal and nuclear efforts eligible for aid.

The “No More Solyndras Act” was approved 29-19 along party lines today by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The bill was offered by Republicans after the collapse of Solyndra LLC, recipient of a $535 million U.S. loan guarantee. The legislation was proposed at the end of an 18-month congressional investigation of the U.S. Energy Department award to Solyndra. The Senate isn’t considering a similar measure.

Republicans said the bill will save money by ending government efforts to pick winners and losers among energy projects.

Representative Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, sought to amend the bill to end the loan program, a step that would block projects already under review that include nuclear and coal efforts that Republicans favor. His effort failed 3-39.

Representative Ed Whitfield, a Kentucky Republican, said continuing to review applications submitted before Jan. 1 is “only fair” to companies expecting aid. The Energy Department has $34 billion in loan-guarantee authority left.

Republicans said solar- and wind-energy projects are among existing applications that can proceed if the bill passes.

Democrats said the loan program has been a success, even with Solyndra’s collapse.

The bill is H.R. 6213.

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