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BUSINESS
October 20, 2011 | Reuters
WASHINGTON — U.S. solar manufacturers have asked the Obama administration to slap duties of more than 100% on imports from China that they said were unfairly undercutting U.S. prices and destroying American jobs. Trade relations with China have become a hot issue ahead of the 2012 U.S. presidential and congressional elections. The Senate last week passed a bill aimed at Beijing's currency practices, although the bill faces an uphill battle in the House to become law. Next week, the House Ways and Means Committee plans a hearing to dive into a broad array of Chinese trade actions that are causing concern in the United States.
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BUSINESS
October 15, 2011 | By Marc Lifsher, Los Angeles Times
As Republican lawmakers pound the Obama administration for pouring a half-billion dollars into now-bankrupt solar panel maker Solyndra, a much bigger federal government bet on green energy looks to be quietly paying off for California. Six large solar power plants to help the state meet its ambitious clean electricity goals are proceeding on schedule, according to their developers. Like Solyndra, these projects carry federal loan guarantees — $7 billion worth in total — which are considered key to attracting private investment in alternative energy.
BUSINESS
October 8, 2011 | By Neela Banerjee and Matea Gold, Los Angeles Times
A top fundraiser for President Obama was far more involved in the $535-million loan guarantee to now-bankrupt solar equipment maker Solyndra than the administration had previously disclosed, according to newly released emails. Steven Spinner, a former Energy Department official, was supposed to be recused from the decision to select Solyndra to participate in the agency's $25-billion program to back loans for renewable energy projects because his wife's law firm represented the company.
NATIONAL
October 7, 2011 | By Neela Banerjee, Washington Bureau
The director of the controversial Energy Department program that guaranteed a $535-million loan to the now-bankrupt solar equipment maker Solyndra stepped down Thursday, hours after President Obama defended the program at a news conference. Obama asserted that the loan guarantees helped new technology companies compete with heavily subsidized rivals in Europe and China. The Energy Department, meanwhile, said Jonathan Silver had told Secretary Steven Chu earlier in the year that he planned to leave when it became clear the program would be finished with its loan guarantees by the end of September.
NEWS
October 6, 2011 | By Neela Banerjee, Washington Bureau
The director of the controversial Energy Department lending program that guaranteed a $535-million loan to the now-bankrupt solar equipment maker Solyndra stepped down from his post Thursday, administration officials confirmed. The announcement of the departure of Jonathan Silver came hours after President Obama defended the program during a news conference, asserting that it helped new technology companies compete with heavily subsidized rivals in Europe and China. The Energy Department said Silver had told Secretary Steven Chu earlier in the year that he planned to leave his post when it became clear the loan program had finished its lending in late September.
NEWS
October 6, 2011 | By Neela Banerjee
President Obama defended the Energy Department loan program that backed the now-bankrupt and beleaguered solar equipment maker Solyndra and didn't miss a chance to take a swipe at Republicans investigating the program. Obama said the program, started under the Bush administration but beefed up with funds from the stimulus act, was meant to provide nascent clean technology companies in the U.S. with the kind of support the Chinese and European governments give to their native enterprises.
NEWS
October 3, 2011 | By Christi Parsons
President Obama is cruising the Internet these days -- sometimes on a pre-release iPad given to him personally by Steve Jobs -- with a reading list made up mostly of mainstream media outlets. "Typically I read on the Web what I read in hard copy," Obama said in an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos on Monday afternoon. Obama said there are some exceptions to the rule, and that he does read some blogs as well as abcnews.com and yahoo.com, the two outlets that were live-streaming the White House interview.
BUSINESS
September 30, 2011 | By Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times
The U.S. government wants a trustee appointed to run failed solar panel manufacturer Solyndra Inc. because company executives have refused to answer questions about the operation. The decision by Solyndra Chief Executive Brian Harrington and Chief Financial Officer Bill Stover to invoke their 5th Amendment rights at a congressional hearing last week prevents them "from properly exercising their fiduciary responsibilities," according to a government filing Friday with the Delaware court handling Solyndra's bankruptcy.
BUSINESS
September 26, 2011 | By Marc Lifsher, Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Sacramento California Treasurer Bill Lockyer on Tuesday will ask a state panel that hands out sales tax exemptions to renewable energy manufacturers to suspend the program in the wake of the Solyndra scandal. Lockyer, who heads the panel, said he will ask fellow members of the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority at a meeting to not approve any new applications for tax exemptions. The program is aimed at encouraging the purchase of equipment used to make solar panels and other energy-saving projects.
NATIONAL
September 26, 2011 | By Tom Hamburger, Kim Geiger and Matea Gold, Washington Bureau
Long before the politically connected California solar firm Solyndra went bankrupt, President Obama was warned by his top economic advisors about the financial and political risks of the Energy Department loan guarantee program that boosted the company's rapid ascent. At a White House meeting in late October, Lawrence H. Summers, then director of the National Economic Council, and Timothy F. Geithner, the Treasury secretary, expressed concerns that the selection process for federal loan guarantees wasn't rigorous enough and raised the risk that funds could be going to the wrong companies, including ones that didn't need the help.
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