Stop the presses! Another one of President Obama’s brilliant clean-energy ventures has collapsed after taking tens of millions of dollars from American taxpayers, in this case to develop a special wheelchair-accessible “green” van.
The news comes just weeks after a separate company that got nearly $200 million from the government to develop hybrid vehicles folded. That fly-by-night company, Fisker Automotive, had been heavily touted by the administration as an innovator that would develop two lines of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles that could run up to 300 miles on a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery. Before doling out the cash, Obama’s Energy Secretary assured the cars “will save hundreds of millions of gallons of gasoline and offset millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions by 2016.”
Instead the southern California startup manufactured a measly 2,700 vehicles, sold a laughable 2,000 and failed to build one for nearly a year before laying off three quarters of its employees. That’s after getting $192 million from Uncle Sam. Highly unlikely that any of the money will ever be recovered since Fisker is almost certainly headed for bankruptcy. Last year Judicial Watch sued the Obama administration for documents related to the Fisker scandal but there appears to be a cover up of epic proportions. Check out the mostly blacked out document the administration provided as part of the lawsuit.
This week’s green-energy fleecing du jour is like a pathetic sequel to the Fisker scandal, except the hemorrhaging got plugged sooner, after only $50 million. It involves another startup called Vehicle Production Group (VPG) that makes special vans for the disabled that run on compressed natural gas. Here’s how the Obama administration justified funding this experiment with public dollars: “This project invests in a socially and environmentally responsible product that will create new jobs, promote the use of alternative fuels, and help the U.S. maintain its competitive edge in the automotive industry.”
Instead VPG has ceased operations and fired almost all of its employees, according to a news report. The same story quotes a Republican congressman saying that VPG’s closing is another sign the clean-car program is a failure and a burden on taxpayers. No kidding! Instead of filling the ozone with hot air, why not do something about it? “We don’t have a good record and it needs to stop,” said the congressman, Jeff Flake of Arizona, who not surprisingly failed to offer any concrete solutions.
It’s a sure bet that Obama’s green ventures will continue swindling taxpayers because the administration has doled out hundreds of millions of dollars for a number of projects. The painful consequences extend beyond the car industry. Remember Solyndra, the northern California solar panel company—bankrolled by Obama fundraiser George Kaiser—that folded after getting $529 million from the government?
Despite the “serious concerns” of U.S. Treasury officials about the risky infusion, a federal audit exposed how the controversial deal was suspiciously rushed through for a politically-connected entrepreneur that had raised large sums for Obama. Judicial Watch is investigating the Solyndra scandal and has sued the administration for records related to the shady deal.