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Michelle Malkin
Michelle Malkin
31 Oct 2014
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Obama's Algae Racket

Comment

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."

And in total, Glauthier adds, "Solazyme officials including Glauthier have contributed at least $360,000 to Democrats since 2007."

Wait, that's not all. The head of Solazyme's Washington lobbying office is Drew Littman, former chief of staff for Democratic Sen. Al Franken. Littman's old pal, entrenched D.C. lobbyist and Obama appointee Michael Meehan, feted Littman earlier this year and bragged that "we couldn't be more thrilled to be working on a daily basis with Drew and the Solazyme team."

Thanks to one of President Obama's executive orders, Solazyme secured a $12 million contract with the U.S. Navy to unload hundreds of thousands of gallons of biofuel — priced at an estimated four to seven times the normal cost of regular jet fuel.

This self-sustaining crony ecosystem, powered by administrative fiat and wealth redistribution, gives new meaning to the phrase "green crude."

Michelle Malkin is the author of "Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies" (Regnery 2010). Her e-mail address is malkinblog@gmail.com.

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Comments

2 Comments | Post Comment
Biodessel sold at 4 to 5 times the price of airline fuel is a scam which should be stopped.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Uldis Sprogis
Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:16 AM
The real scam here isn't the sale of overpriced fuel to the military. It has to do with the companies themselves. Once they receive these huge government loans or grants, their stock prices go through the roof. Then, just before the inevitable bankruptcy that comes when reality catches up to them, the original investors sell their stock for a huge profit, leaving the suckers (like the US taxpayers) holding the bag.
It's happened over and over. Too bad the DNC media complex isn't interested in reporting it.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Jeff Gunn
Wed Mar 21, 2012 4:22 AM
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