What Obama wouldn’t fund with $2B in loan guarantees
posted at 4:45 pm on August 20, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
Earlier this week, we found out what kind of energy production Barack Obama likes to support when he offered $2 billion in loans and guarantees to Brazilian oil producer Petrobras to drill off Brazil’s shores — while supporting a moratorium on offshore drilling in the US. Coincidentally, Obama had the opportunity to offer the exact same amount of money to an American company for energy production just three weeks earlier. Did they get the cash for their zero-emission energy industry venture? Apparently, George Soros didn’t invest in USEC:
Bethesda-based USEC on Tuesday accused President Obama of reneging on a campaign pledge after the Energy Department turned down the company’s request for $2 billion in loan guarantees for a new uranium enrichment project in Piketon, Ohio.
USEC, which operates the nation’s only uranium enrichment facility, said it would “demobilize” the new project, which it said could not obtain private financing without the federal loan guarantee. The company has already spent $1.5 billion on what it calls the American Centrifuge Plant, but USEC says the final price tag could reach $3.5 billion, 1 1/2 times as much as it estimated two years ago.
“We are shocked and disappointed by DOE’s decision,” USEC chief executive John K. Welch said in a statement. “President Obama promised to support the loan guarantee for the American Centrifuge Plant while he campaigned in Ohio. We are disappointed that campaign commitment has not been met.”
Let’s make this clear. Obama found $2 billion in the depleted Treasury to fund an expansion of oil production in Brazil, despite both his opposition to American offshore drilling and to increasing reliance on fossil fuels. However, he cannot find any money to keep a promise to support nuclear energy in the US by keeping the USEC plant in operation in Ohio, a state that will get hammered by his cap-and-trade proposal. The denial will set back the introduction of nuclear energy that could replace some of the coal-based electrical power generated in Ohio and elsewhere.
The DoE says that the USEC project has not reached the readiness stage required for funding. However, the same is true of the project that Obama’s funding in Brazil. In fact, investors (other than Soros) wonder whether the state-owned and state-run Petrobras is really up to the task of properly exploiting the find, despite the leftist government’s campaign of supporting Petrobras control of it. The extraction of the coastal find is still in the planning stages, whereas the USEC facility is much closer to production. Yet the US has no use for American energy even as it subsidizes Brazil’s government-owned oil production.
What’s the difference that pushed Obama towards Petrobras and away from USEC? Because from here, it just looks like George Soros.