We've heard all about the wildfires that have been raging in the western US, and the lengths that normal citizens are going to to fight them. Now, Congress is finally stepping in to deliver some aid of its own. The funds, though, could come at the expense of the auto industry.

The Republican House Appropriations Committee is working on a $24.3-billion spending bill, with $1.5 billion earmarked to help the smoldering west. But in this cash-strapped environment, where will the funds come from? The answer, despite previous reports, is the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan program, which was approved for $25 billion by Congress in 2008.

With funds managed by the Department of Energy, the ATVM program was meant to spark production of high-mileage and alternative-energy vehicles in the US auto industry. Tesla, along with efforts from Ford and Nissan, have been the only notable successes in a sea of failures.

The high-profile collapse of Fisker, and a certain gun-shy attitude after the Solyndra fiasco, has seemingly led to a lack of loans from the fund. With over $25 billion promised, the DOE has only doled about a bit less than $9 billion, having rejected over 100 companies' requests for funds. As The Detroit News points out, there also haven't been any new loans in two years.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 62 Comments
      NAIF S
      • 1 Year Ago
      Let-um burn. Or just send congress to help fight them, they are not doing anything productive anyway.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        Zoom
        • 1 Year Ago
        you're an idiot. unfortunately too many of you are in Congress.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Zoom
          [blocked]
          archos
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Zoom
          Theinsurgent is ignoring the fact these cuts were made purely for the upcoming republican primaries and will not be accepted in any senate version of funding.
        avconsumer2
        • 1 Year Ago
        This x1 jillion.
        archos
        • 1 Year Ago
        Thats the republican way. They'd prefer you eat your own fist if you're hungry. How else can they give them their country club buddies tax breaks and hand out billions in corporate welfare. People like this do not belong in politics. Sociopathic behavior.
          raktmn
          • 1 Year Ago
          @archos
          Just look at the recent House version of the Farm bill. They cut out all of the food stamp funding, including funding for 22 million children, and 7 million elderly people. All while hugely increasing the corporate welfare to corporate farms to record levels never seen before.
        TelegramSam
        • 1 Year Ago
        This is the surest way I've ever heard of to topple the entire top heavy system. Are you a terrorist, or something?
      RC
      • 1 Year Ago
      How ridiculous. Don't they realize green house gases and over heat precipitate fires. These Republicans are a bunch of morons.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @RC
        [blocked]
          no1bondfan
          • 1 Year Ago
          ALF eco-terrorists? Both of them? Seriously dude, I get your point, but you really couldn't have thrown in a more obscure reference.
          Spec
          • 1 Year Ago
          Yes, a puppet from the 1980's is a major source of problems.
        victoracer
        • 1 Year Ago
        @RC
        gasses from green houses have little to do with precipitating fires. However, Greenhouse gasses like CO2 are rumored to contribute to global warming which could be construed to further contribute to periods of prolonged drying conditions which could lead to an increase in frequency for forest fires. That being said, recently published climate studies show that CO2 may not be public enemy #1 and rather, CFCs may have more to do with global warming via greenhouse gas heat trapping. "CFC's are showing already known to deplete ozone, but in-depth statistical analysis now shows that CFCs are also the key driver in global climate change, rather than carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. "Most conventional theories expect that global temperatures will continue to increase as CO2 levels continue to rise, as they have done since 1850. What's striking is that since 2002, global temperatures have actually declined – matching a decline in CFCs in the atmosphere," Professor Lu said. "My calculations of CFC greenhouse effect show that there was global warming by about 0.6 °C from 1950 to 2002, but the earth has actually cooled since 2002. The cooling trend is set to continue for the next 50-70 years as the amount of CFCs in the atmosphere continues to decline." Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-05-global-chlorofluorocarbons-carbon-dioxide.html#jCp
          Zoom
          • 1 Year Ago
          @victoracer
          You lost me at "rumored". Science is not to be cherry-picked.
          Justin
          • 1 Year Ago
          @victoracer
          Thank you Victoracer. People are oversimplifying a complicated equation when it comes to natural climate change vs man-made.
          raktmn
          • 1 Year Ago
          @victoracer
          victoracer -- Here is the direct link between Global Warming and forest fires in the west in 3 easy to understand steps. 1) Warmer, shorter winters have resulted in Pine Beetles expanding their habitat to much higher elevations, and have allowed them to have 2 reproduction cycles each summer, compared to just one cycle in the past. This means way more pine beetles across larger sections of the forest due to global warming. 2) More pine beetles have caused record numbers of acres to suffer from wide spread beetle kill, leaving more acres of land covered with dead trees at more ranges of high and low altitudes then ever before. 3) More dead trees, and dead trees extending all the way to the tops of more mountains means more catastrophic forest fires spreading further and faster, and more demand for more fire fighting equipment.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        Tony McAdams
        • 1 Year Ago
        "was approved for $25 billion by Congress in 2008" helps if you READ THE ARTICLE. [this guy gotta be a birther]
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      From a 30,000 foot level, this is eating your seed corn. The ATVM loans have largely been to help electric, hybrid, and PHEV cars that reduce global warming effects . . . and we are going to reduce this activity to fight wild fires that have increased due the climate change. We need to do both: fight the fires AND work to prevent increased wildfires.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        [blocked]
          raktmn
          • 1 Year Ago
          juan, your lies may play in right-wing anti-Obama echo chambers, where everybody lies to each other until they think it is the truth. But here, you will get called on your lies and proven wrong every time. Here is what the CBO themselves have to say about the CBO estimates they create: "CBO’s Estimate of the Net Budgetary Impact of the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Coverage Provisions Has Not Changed Much Over Time" IF you look at the graph, and are capable of understanding math, the only change has been how long it will take go get past the point of Obama Care saving the nation 140 billion, and how much more than $140 billion it will save us over how many years. http://www.cbo.gov/publication/44176
          Spec
          • 1 Year Ago
          The CBO scored Obamacare as SAVING money. And all of Obama's wars? What wars? . . . there is currently only one war that I know and he didn't start it, Al-Qeada did. I completely agree that the surge in Afghanistan was a mistake. Hindsight is 20/20. But we are pulling out of that one.
          Mark Schaffer
          • 1 Year Ago
          How about we defund any government spending that assists you first?
      ffforte
      • 1 Year Ago
      As an auto enthusiast, I am amazed at the technology that has appeared in the industry compared to the recent past. The ATVM program simply increases the likelihood that MY future car will use less energy. I believe this to be a worthwhile use of taxpayer dollars.
      knightrider_6
      • 1 Year Ago
      Sure.... you could spend money on putting down fires, or you could spend money on preventing those fires.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @knightrider_6
        [blocked]
          • 1 Year Ago
          [blocked]
          Zoom
          • 1 Year Ago
          What ilk are you speaking of? Thinning forests and prescriptive burns are not political issues.
        Mark Schaffer
        • 1 Year Ago
        @knightrider_6
        Another anonymous troll with nothing factually and contextually accurate to say.
        Mark Schaffer
        • 1 Year Ago
        @knightrider_6
        Or both.
      Zoom
      • 1 Year Ago
      I am a fan of using tax dollars to spur innovation, but if those loans aren't being made perhaps it's time to end the program. If they're not being made because of bottlenecks due to obstruction, it's time to get rid of the obstructionistas. We need to move forward.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Zoom
        [blocked]
          Zoom
          • 1 Year Ago
          Please stop using one example as a sign of a problem. When you can show that greater than 50% of the program was a failure then we can talk. Until then...
        Tony McAdams
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Zoom
        anytime you point out they're wrong, they pull out their Bibles. Unfortunately Rosie was right, as we speak of the car biz Bloomberg articles about Boehner starting his debt-ceiling jihad AGAIN, but they've got plenty of money for war.... http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-23/boehner-signals-clash-with-white-house-on-u-s-debt-limit.html
      archos
      • 1 Year Ago
      The republiterrorists are doing their best to gut government investments in new industries. China is now the global leader in solar energy thanks to the republicans. They went to hand them the PHEV market too. The Chamber of Commerce gets billions in overseas corporate donations. Is it sedition to deliberately handicap a domestic industry to get donations from foreign donors?
      sp33dklz
      • 1 Year Ago
      God I hate politics. Can we just stick to cars? Republican, Democrat, who gives a damn! People are stupid.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @sp33dklz
        [blocked]
          Spec
          • 1 Year Ago
          Yeah, and that is why US oil production has increased more during Obama's administration than at any time in the last 40 years. Wait . . .what? Facts are stubborn things.
          3szoom
          • 1 Year Ago
          I'm more liberal than most democrates, but I love cars - I can't see why we can't have more efficient ones though. Are you really "pro-oil"?
          edward.stallings
          • 1 Year Ago
          You are right, and US oil production increasing under Obama was in spite of his efforts to hurt the industry. It was mainly due to fracking. Democraps have become the worst sort in history, attempting to screw up everything. They do not produce. The are parasitic, with the goal being to destroy the free market. The people voting you down are the ultra-ignorant useful idiots that help facilitate communist takeover. They believe the crap they are fed. Not one is a business owner that has anything to do with manufacturing, mining, building, or any wealth creating endeavor.
          churchmotor
          • 1 Year Ago
          And SPEC, It takes many years from the letting of permits, exploration, site development . . . FACTS are, the current production increases have ZERO to do with Obama. FACTS.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @sp33dklz
        [blocked]
      2 wheeled menace
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why can't the local areas affected pay for this? The federal govt is taking over more and more things.. this is not a trend that i like to see.
        Mark Schaffer
        • 1 Year Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Because it is an American myth that anyone or any local entity stands on their own feet.
        raktmn
        • 1 Year Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Because much of the fires are burning on FEDERAL lands owned by the forest service or BLM. Why should municipalities, counties, and states foot the entire bill to pay for putting out fires on federal land? They are already putting in huge dollars into fighting the fires as it is now. Besides, it is an idiotic waste of resources for a single city or county to own all the fire-fighting equipment required to fight a major fire that may only come to their city or county once a decade or two. The larger the fires, the better it is to use more shared resources between more people. That way you can send huge resources all over an entire region so the resources follow the fires, not arbitrary state lines that fires don't recognize. I thought you lived in Utah, and would understand stuff like this. Considering that the entire urban corridor is surrounded by federal land on both sides.
      360_AD
      • 1 Year Ago
      Republicans killing cars to save trees? Is it snowing in hell?
        paulwesterberg
        • 1 Year Ago
        @360_AD
        They want to manage forests(cut down the trees) and save their vacation homes.
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