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Fred in the News

POLITICO: Upton grills Chu over stimulus job creation

By Josh Voorhees -

Fred Upton has yet to secure the Energy and Commerce chairmanship, but that hasn’t stopped the Michigan Republican from acting like he’s already got the gavel in hand. Yesterday, he sent a letter to Steven Chu quizzing the Energy secretary on the details of the roughly $40 billion that last year’s stimulus package sent to DOE and demanding the specific job-creation figures for a half dozen individual grants.

In his letter, Upton writes that the White House and congressional Democrats passed the massive bill “on the promise that money would go out the door immediately to shovel-ready projects and that the unemployment rate would stay below 8 percent. … It is clear that the President’s economic team was wrong about unemployment staying below 8 percent. It is also now clear that the President was incorrect in his assertion that money would go out the door immediately to shovel-ready projects.”

Among the grants Upton wants specific job creation (and not “jobs saved”) numbers for are: the $5 million geothermal grant to Oak Ridge (Tenn.) City Center; the $2.6-million geothermal grant to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science; the $158K solar grant to the Movement Climbing and Fitness gym in Boulder, Colo.; the $25K energy-efficiency grant to the town of Sykesville, Md.; and the $935K weatherization grant to the African Heritage Dancers and Drummers of Washington, D.C.

Upton wants Chu and his staff to respond within two weeks of receipt. The letter: http://bit.ly/gMjV4B 

DOE RESPONSE – Asked to comment on Upton’s letter, a DOE spokeswoman e-mailed POLITICO: “The Recovery Act’s investments in clean energy are playing a critical role in creating new jobs and new industries in Michigan and states across the country. In fact, according to the Council of Economic Advisors, nearly 225,000 clean energy jobs were saved and created nationally as a result of the Recovery Act through the third quarter of 2010. These projects are already saving money for American families and businesses, helping to rebuild our domestic manufacturing base, improving American economic competitiveness, and reducing our dependence on foreign oil. And as these clean energy projects continue over the coming months and years, we’ll continue to see jobs added in local communities, further fueling our economic recovery.”


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