official in solyndra deal resigns
The director of the controversial Energy Department program that guaranteed a $535 million loan to the now-bankrupt solar equipment maker Solyndra stepped down from his post Thursday, hours after President Barack Obama defended the program at a news conference.
Obama asserted that the loan guarantees helped new technology companies compete with heavily subsidized rivals in Europe and China.
The Energy Department, meanwhile, said Jonathan Silver had told Secretary Steven Chu earlier in the year that he planned to leave when it became clear the loan program would be finished with its lending by the end of September.
During congressional hearings, Silver took much of the heat for the program's support of Solyndra and its subsequent decision to restructure the loan in a way that placed the federal government behind other investors in recouping its money in case of bankruptcy. Some congressional Republicans demanded Silver's resignation.
President defends Holder in gun operation
President Barack Obama said Thursday he has complete confidence in Attorney General Eric Holder amid Republican accusations that the attorney general was aware of a flawed operation to stem gun-smuggling months sooner than he has acknowledged.
At a White House news conference, the president said Holder has been very aggressive in pursuing gun-running and cash transactions that support drug cartels in Mexico.
Holder "indicated that he was not aware of what was happening in Fast and Furious," the president said.
EPA plans to relax pollution restriction
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday proposed easing new pollution restrictions that angered several states and infuriated GOP presidential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
The proposed fix to the cross-state pollution rule would allow 10 states, including Florida, to emit more smog-causing pollution. The rule is designed to decrease smokestack emissions, mostly from coal-fired power plants.
Perry said that the changes proposed by the EPA "prove there are undeniable flaws" with the rule and that he will "continue to fight the job killing mandates passed down by this administration and the unelected bureaucrats at the EPA."
But EPA regional administrator Al Armendariz said the agency's decision to ease the standards had to do with new data and was not political. The changes will also ease the restrictions for Texas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Wisconsin and Arkansas.