The Subcommittee on Energy and Environment today held a hearing to examine the Department of Energy's (DOE's) Vehicle Technologies Program (VTP), specifically focusing on management and oversight of DOE's alternative vehicle research, development, demonstration, and commercialization activities. Republicans criticized the Administration's record spending on VTP activities and highlighted frequent examples of poor management and a lack of transparency.
"I am strongly supportive of advanced vehicle technologies if the government role is carefully limited, and the market matures through free enterprise and American innovation, not through the vast spending, mandates, and special tax treatment that we have today," noted Subcommittee Chairman Andy Harris (R-MD).
The Federal government supports a wide array of incentives to support the development and deployment of alternative technology vehicles. However, serious concerns were raised by Republicans about the dramatic increase in spending after President Obama made electric vehicles a focal point of his green energy spending agenda.
Harris added that "these spending concerns are magnified further by the Department of Energy's poor track record in administering such programs." DOE's Deputy Inspector General for Audits and Inspections, Mr. Rickey Hass, highlighted some of these management problems. "Our review disclosed that the Department had not obtained and reviewed required financial and compliance audits and cost reports for the Program's six for-profit recipients," Hass explained, adding that "Audits and cost reports determine the financial condition of the recipients; the reasonableness of costs expended under the awards; the adequacy of internal controls; and, compliance with laws and regulations."
Members also criticized DOE's lack of responsiveness to ongoing requests for documents and information related to EV program spending. Although first requested March 26, DOE did not begin to provide the Subcommittee basic documentation associated with the award until July 20. Members on both sides of the aisle criticized these delays, and Chairman Harris noted that many key documents provided thus far were heavily redacted. When asked by Members why one company received funding ahead of competitors with higher scores, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency, Dr. Kathleen Hogan was unable to provide an explanation but committed to working with the Subcommittee to provide that information.