Green Energy Firms Under Scrutiny Get 'We Can't Wait' Projects

The Obama administration shifted its alternative-energy goals into high gear today as seven renewable energy projects got the "We Can't Wait" initiative designation.

“As part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above strategy to expand domestic energy production and strengthen the economy, we are working to advance smart development of renewable energy on our public lands,” said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. “These seven proposed solar and wind projects have great potential to grow our nation’s energy independence, drive job creation, and power economies across the west.”

And some of the companies managing those projects are already under congressional scrutiny on suspicion that they've received favorable treatment by this administration.

The White House touted the "job-creating infrastructure projects" as an endeavor that would provide power to 1.5 million homes "and support the president’s all-of-the-above strategy to expand American made energy."

The projects are buoyed by an executive order in March that directed the Office of Management and Budget to fast-track the permitting and review process for select infrastructure projects. "Additional expedited infrastructure projects will be announced in the coming weeks," the White House said.

The renewable energy projects come as the Interior Department has been increasingly limiting fossil fuel-exploration on federal lands.

"There is a tale of two energy policies to be told in this country. There are the states where domestic oil and natural gas production is growing, and there are the states where it is stagnating," House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said at an Energy and Power subcommittee hearing last week. "In some states, oil and natural gas output is sharply increasing on private and state-owned lands. But in others where this administration calls the shots on federally controlled lands and offshore areas, the news is not nearly as good."

Upton cited a recent Congressional Research Service study that found 96 percent of the increase in domestic oil supplies since 2007 has come from non-federal lands.

"If we take the lessons from this tale of two energy policies and allow states like Alaska to harness the resources as they do in states like North Dakota, it would benefit the national economy, jobs, gasoline price, and energy security," the chairman said.

"While Democrats under President Obama's leadership have put forth truly all-of-the-above energy agenda, it appears that my Republican colleagues are once again taking their cue from one of their most influential leaders, Sarah Palin, in reviving their simplistic 'Drill, Baby, Drill' energy agenda," ranking member Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) said.