DOE loan guarantees degenerate into a political game.
Once upon a time, the U.S. Congress started a game of hot potato. The potato, otherwise known as the EPAct Title XVII Loan Guarantee Program, has been bouncing around Washington, D.C., since 2005.
For a long time it bounced among executive-branch agencies and Congress. Finally, DOE issued regulations in October, effectively putting the potato back in Congress’ lap. Legislators can end the game by funding the program.
But now that the industry is getting a good look at the potato, it looks decidedly funky—stuffed with caveats and half-measures. Whether that’s good or bad depends largely on whether you believe the government belongs in the potato game in the first place.
Not On My Watch
EPAct Title XVII directed the energy secretary to guarantee loans for projects that “avoid, reduce, or sequester air pollutants or anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases; and employ new or significantly improved technologies.”
The DOE, however, never seemed to embrace Congress’ assignment. Publicly, of course, DOE officials have supported the program, but their actions seem aimed at scuttling it—or ensnaring it in bureaucracy until President Bush’s term ends.