Murkowski Welcomes Hearing on Loan Guarantee Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. ­ U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today welcomed Chairman Bingaman’s announcement that the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee would hold a hearing on the Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program next month.

“If the loan guarantee programs are going to continue in this era of austerity, we must ensure that they are working as intended and that taxpayer dollars are not being put in unnecessarily risky investments,” Murkowski said. “As the Senate committee of jurisdiction, it’s appropriate that we hold a hearing and hear directly from Secretary Chu.”

The hearing, scheduled for March 13, will focus on DOE’s "Report of the Independent Consultant's Review with Respect to the Department of Energy Loan and Loan Guarantee Portfolio."

Murkowski, the ranking Republican on the committee, had publicly called for an oversight hearing of DOE’s loan programs following last year¹s bankruptcy of Solyndra, which had received a $535 million loan guarantee from DOE under the federal stimulus program.

“I believe there is a role for the federal government in developing new energy technologies, but I’ve come to believe that there are clearly implementation flaws in the loan program that must be addressed,” Murkowski said. “Herb Allison’s audit of the loan program is helpful but it did not address all of the issues that have arisen, so I’m glad that Secretary Chu will be testifying at this important hearing.”