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Debate fact check: The President’s investments support a clean energy industry that Romney would gut

“If you want to be president, you owe the American people the truth.”—President Obama

Among the numerous false attacks Mitt Romney launched last night was his claim that the President invested $90 billion in green energy businesses of which “about half” have failed. But as the Washington Post notes, this claim comes “nowhere near” the truth.

The $90 billion was a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and was a down payment toward our goals of reducing our dependence on foreign oil and rebuilding the economy in the short- and long-term. As CNN points out, not even half of the Recovery Act funding for clean energy went directly to green businesses. In fact, some of the major investments made by the Recovery Act included funding the weatherization of hundreds of thousands of low-income homes and the clean-up of hundreds of miles of land used for nuclear testing.

A piece of that funding was the Obama administration’s investments through the Department of Energy’s loan program which included grants, loan guarantees, and loans to the clean energy industry, and are expected to support tens of thousands of jobs across the country. These investments have supported one of the world’s largest wind farms in eastern Oregon, solar power plants in Arizona, and Ford’s production of fuel-efficient cars. And as CNN notes, “most of the large projects that benefited from the Department of Energy loan program remain in operation—contrary to Romney’s assertion.” In fact, companies that filed for bankruptcy received just 4%of the funding awarded to clean energy companies through the Energy Department’s loan program.

Romney coupled this attack with another demonstrably misleading claim: “Now, I like green energy as well,” he said. But his rhetoric doesn’t match his actual energy plan, which would cede the clean energy economy to China. His “view that the government should cut off aid to renewable energy”—such as the wind production tax credit—won’t help us develop these new sources. He even suggested that wind and solar are “imaginary” sources of energy. In fact, Romney zeroes out federal incentives for solar, wind, and renewable businesses in his energy plan that was developed in consultation with oil and gas executives. Perhaps that is why he’ll maintain the $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies for Big Oil.

Learn more about the clear choice Americans have on moving the country towards an energy independent future here.