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Pond scum stinks. And so do the Obama administration’s enormous, taxpayer-funded “investments” in politically connected biofuel companies. While the president embarks on a green rehabilitation tour this week to quell growing public outrage about big green boondoggles, the White House continues to cultivate a cozy algae racket.
Obama’s promotion of algae as a fuel source at a campaign speech in Miami last month caught the nation’s attention. But algae companies have been banking on administration support from Day One. In December 2008, when the White House announced the nomination of Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the CEO of Florida-based biofuels startup Algenol, Paul Woods, exulted to Time magazine: “You see this smile on my face? It’s not going away. Everyone is really excited by this.”
The next year, Woods and Algenol — dubbed “Obama’s favorite algae company” by Forbes magazine — racked up $25 million in federal stimulus grants from Chu. Say cheese.
Yet another algae-based biofuels developer, Sapphire Energy, has absorbed $105 million in stimulus funds and loan guarantees even as doubts about the practicality, efficiency and viability of pond-scum fuels multiply. Sapphire’s CEO, Jason Pyle, has donated exclusively to Democratic campaigns, candidates and committees — and his company’s website reads like a satellite White House communications office:
— “President Obama Announces $14 Million Funding Opportunity To Develop Transportation Fuels from Algae”;
— “President Obama’s Secure Energy Blueprint — Industry Reaction”;
— “Obama Defends Energy Policy, Hitting Back At Presidential Candidates.”
Another prominent DOE recipient in the world of blue-green sludge? San Francisco-based Solazyme.
The manufacturer of algae-based renewable fuels has scooped up more than $21 million in federal stimulus grants and contracts. Solazyme’s ties to the White House and the Democratic establishment in Washington are myriad. As blogger J.E. Dyer at HotAir.com (which I founded in 2006 and sold in 2010) reported in December, Solazyme’s “strategic advisers” include TJ Glauthier — a member of the Obama presidential transition team who just happened to work “on the energy-sector portion of the 2009 stimulus bill.”
Andrew Stiles of the Washington Free Beacon writes that Glauthier:
“serves on the board of EnerNOC Inc., a company that provides demand-response services to electric utility firms. EnerNOC won a $10 million contract with the Department of Energy Resources in 2010 despite being underbid by competitors, the Boston Herald reported. Glauthier also served on the board of SunRun, a solar financing company that received a $6.7 million federal grant in 2010.”
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