Obama’s Algae Racket

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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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  • UCSPanther

    This pork, questionable financial activity and sleaze is ruining the image of legitimate research work into developing alternative fuels.

  • truebearing

    Al Gore invented the internet. Baraka Obama created SolaSlime, a "green" eating parasitic life form. The green economy is producing this toxic, good-for-nothing slime at an amazing pace and though we are told this SolaSlime will create energy, it was, by design, meant to drain energy from the economy . It gave Obama a noble scheme to squander money on, with the hope that it would finish what the sub-prime, Cloward-Piven scam didn't quite achieve.

  • Rifleman

    Some Navy pilots could have had four to seven times the stick time for the same fuel price, but hussein paid off his political contributors instead. What a guy.

  • John C. Davidson

    What is most troublig is with all the revelations Michele has exposed, these crooks just keep on stealing taxpayer's stash!

  • hajida

    The funding for election should be provided by the government to all candidates equally and should not come from lobbyists or foreign special interest groups. If the elected official are in debt to those groups, we elect people who will not for us but for the lobbists and foreign special interest groups.

    • Rifleman

      We have this thing called freedom of speech, and what you describe infringes on that. If you're worried about lobbyists and foreign special interest groups, you should prune federal power back to where their money buys them little to nothing, as was intended by the Founders.

  • pyeatte

    Racket is the right term if this Government is getting involved. FYI Exxon/Mobil dedicated their own money to algae oil research in 2009. If it is doable, they will make it work. The idea is to produce algae based oil and feed it into traditional refineries to produce gasoline, jet fuel, diesel, etc. Private sector work is vastly superior to having the DOE decide which political group is to get the $$$ to funnel back to the liberal politicians. When the private sector invests money it is because they see a possibility of making it work and making a PROFIT.

  • palidin911

    The proliferation of crony capitalism during the Obama regime is astonishing. It's obviously the only kind he likes. It's theChicago brand of capitalism, practiced the most corrupt city, in the most corrupt state in America, where politicians have a higher chance of going to prison than than an illegal alien gun runner.

  • http://www.clrlight.org/ Thomas Blakeslee