Saturday, October 22, 2011

Say the DOE broke the law on Solyndra - so what......

Politico House Republicans can scream all they want that the Energy Department broke the law when it changed the terms of Solyndra’s $535 million loan guarantee, putting taxpayers on the hook first if the company went under.

But can anyone do much about it?

Probably not — at least not legally.

Unlike laws such as the Clean Air Act, which allows citizens to sue the EPA for possible violations, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 that created DOE's loan guarantee program doesn't provide a similar outlet for someone who claims a law was broken.

"Certainly there's some mileage to be gained by making the argument that DOE exceeded its statutory authority, but beyond that, I'm not exactly sure what the actual repercussions would be from that," said Salo Zelermyer, a former DOE attorney during the George W. Bush administration.

Granted, the Obama administration says it was well within its legal bounds when DOE agreed in February to change the terms of Solyndra's loan guarantee so that private investors could recoup about $75 million before the taxpayers if the California solar company went bankrupt.

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