Tomorrow's event (November 30th), titled Department of Energy Loan Guarantees: Should Taxpayers Bear the Risks for the Energy Sector with Loan Guarantees? A Conservative Take, looks to be an interesting one tomorrow. The discussion brings together panelists from the Heritage Foundation, the National Taxpayers Union, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center to provide views on multi-billion dollar loan guarantees to conventional and renewable forms of energy.
While conservative groups generally support property rights and competitive markets, some of the participants have also opposed elimination of subsidies to favored energy industries in the past. Hopefully that is now changing.
More information and registration information can be accessed here.
Update: See a December 8th joint letter issued by most of the organizations involved with this event encouraging Congress not to increase the loan guarantees to new nuclear power plants. The letter notes that
Putting the full faith and credit of the U.S. government behind costly, risky projects that the private sector won’t finance is fiscally reckless and politically unwise. Because of the size of these nuclear reactor projects, taxpayers stand to lose more on these than any other Title XVII loan guarantee. Congress must face the reality that loan guarantees are anything but “free money” or a wise expansion of government authority and oppose further expansion of this program.
The Heritage Foundation was the only organization participating in the November 29th event that did not sign the letter. No reason this is given on the Heritage or Taxpayers for Common Sense websites.
In April of this year, Jack Spencer of Heritage clearly stated in Congressional testimony that these energy loan guarantees are both subsidies and distort market behavior in many unhelpful ways. He supported more stringent guidelines on nuclear loan guarantees, as well as caps on the total taxpayer exposure. However, he appears to support a substantially higher cap on loan guarantees to nuclear than the other groups, and this may have been the basis of disagreement.