EPA Official Showers Love on Anti-Fossil Fuel Activists

Susan Hedman

As President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency continues to receive much-needed scrutiny as it conducts its reign of terror (“crucifying”) on fossil fuel industries, yet another renegade regional administrator has been shown in full alliance with environmental extremists in pursuit of regulations to kill oil and coal. Natural gas isn’t far down the hit list.

This time it’s Region 5 Administrator Susan Hedman, a veteran attorney who has litigated environmental cases as part of the University of Maryland Environmental Law Center, as counsel for the Environmental Law and Policy Center, and as senior assistant attorney general in the Illinois Attorney General’s office. Last August she joined dozens of activists outside her Chicago office to celebrate the expected implementation of EPA’s Mercury Air Toxics Standard, which was released in December. Bloomberg reported that the rule would cost utilities an estimated $9.6 billion per year in compliance costs, fulfilling the president’s … Read More ➡

First Solar’s Crony Socialism is a Big Failure

First Solar Logo

Renewable-loving Los Angeles is showing that even the power of billions of dollars in taxpayer “stimulus” cannot overcome the dominant hand of government regulation, and ironically it’s costing President Obama more green jobs.

One of the darlings of the Department of Energy’s Loan Guarantee Program, First Solar, has seen its stock price take a drubbing, laid off thousands of workers, and left its leadership – with significant influence from Walmart’s Walton familyscrambling to save the company. The latest stumble has led to another setback of worker inactivity at First Solar’s Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One project in California, approximately 75 miles north of downtown Los Angeles, despite $646 million in taxpayer-guaranteed loans. At issue is a disagreement with Los Angeles County safety inspector over electrical installations and whether they meet standards.

According to one “Green tech” Web site, approximately half of the workers … Read More ➡

Walmart Withdraws from ALEC, Wallows in Bribery Scandal

Mike Duke photoIn an unsurprising, capitulatory move last week, Walmart joined several other major companies and withdrew its membership from the American Legislative Exchange Council, which advances the principles of free markets and limited government at the state level through legislative idea exchanges.

The move preceded Friday’s annual shareholder meeting, in which executives emphasized their commitment to principles of integrity. That came into question especially since April, when the New York Times revealed that company officials authorized millions of dollars in bribes in order to expedite building permits and other favors in Mexico.

A number of investors and pension funds attempted to remove some Walmart directors from the board, including CEO Mike Duke (in picture), former CEO Lee Scott, and S. Robson “Rob” Walton, son of company founder Sam Walton. Because the family holds nearly 50 percent of stock in the company, proposals they don’t support will always fail … Read More ➡

Looks Like Subsidized A123 Execs Want to Cash In

A123 logoAs taxpayer-backed electric car battery-maker A123 Systems reported a $125 million 1st quarter loss this week and its stock price dipped to near its 52-week low, the executives that were just awarded big raises and parachutes look like they want to cash in and sell the company.

Officials with the Massachusetts-based manufacturer, which received a $249.1 million grant from the Department of Energy but this week said the ability for the company to continue is a “going concern,” also announced they retained an outside adviser for “evaluation of strategic alternatives.” Translation: they’re looking to sell. If they are successful, A123 President David Vieau and his colleagues stand to reap a windfall even after they laid off 125 factory workers (“Green jobs”) in November.

The move follows the actions its directors took in February, after Fisker Automotive – A123’s top customer and a company in which it was invested … Read More ➡

More Federal Officials Don’t Like Natural Gas— This Time in Gas Rich Zone

Dan Arvizu

As Americans grow increasingly skeptical about global warming, and the availability of shale oil and natural gas is greater than ever in the U.S., a federal official based in Colorado says the climate threat is so dire that electric utilities should not plan long-term for the development of natural gas power plants.

Meanwhile another official in the Centennial State – a regional regulator for the Environmental Protection Agency that oversees areas with vast fossil fuel reserves – is on the record saying the number of scientists skeptical about the dangers of global warming is nearly non-existent.

The first official, Daniel Arvizu (pictured), director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, made his remarks Monday at the World Renewable Energy Forum in Denver.

“If we don’t start phasing out even a scale-up of natural gas by 2040, 2050, we will not achieve any of the carbon-loading goals we have set for ourselves,” … Read More ➡

Taxpayers Subsidize Forbes ‘Green’ Billionaires’ Schemes

Vinod Khosla

This story has been updated below.

The three top U.S. tycoons on Forbes’s “Green” billionaires list have received billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies for their clean technology companies, after they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars for political campaigns and lobbying.

Two of the moguls, Elon Musk and Vinod Khosla (in photo), are technology pioneers based in California with net worths of $2 billion and $1.3 billion, respectively. The third, Christy Walton, is the widow of the late John Walton who was an heir to the Walmart fortune. Forbes says she is “the world’s richest woman” is worth $24.8 billion.

Significant percentages of Musk’s and Khosla’s value are derived from “eco-friendly” holdings. Musk’s main green investments are in Tesla Motors, an electric automaker, and SolarCity. Among Khosla’s clean-tech assets are KiOR and Gevo, both biofuels companies, and Calera Corporation, a company that uses captured carbon … Read More ➡

Nissan Seeks Leaf Buyers from Among ‘Pragmatists’

Nissan LeafNow that Nissan believes it has captured all the “early adopters” of its all-electric Leaf, its North American subsidiary plans to market the 73-mile-per-charge (they used to say it was 100 miles) vehicle to “pragmatists.”

These practical patrons, according to Executive Vice President Andy Palmer, will not be drawn from the limited ranks of environmental activism, but instead will consist of everyday Joes “who will see the dollars-and-sense benefits of driving one,” reports USA Today.

“There’s no reason, though the life cycle of Leaf, why we shouldn’t have a profitable car,” Palmer told the newspaper at the Electric Car Symposium in Los Angeles. “We needed economies of scale. I see no reason why it shouldn’t be profitable.”

The reason “scale” is needed is Nissan will soon have to justify the mass production of the poor-selling Leaf in the U.S., after it received a $1.45 billion loan guarantee from … Read More ➡

Fisker Insinuates Customer to Blame for Karma Fire

Fisker logoFisker Automotive has implied that the Texas owner of one of its Karma models committed “fraud” or “malicious intent” in blaming the luxury electric vehicle for his garage fire last week, after he had to rescue his wife, mother and child from flames that spread quickly to his house.

The company’s claim could be a fatal public relations move, as the chief investigator in Fort Bend County Fire Marshal’s Office, Robert Baker, has also blamed the fire on the Karma. Fisker, recipient of $193 million (out of a $529 million total guarantee) loan backed by taxpayers via the Department of Energy, has suffered a series of publicity blunders including two recalls, a Karma breakdown at Consumer Reports’ test facility, a SEC investigation of its primary venture capital raisers, layoffs, and a cutoff of its loan by DOE.

According to a report by Autoweek, the fire started shortly after … Read More ➡

Duke Power Plant Boondoggle to Cost Customers Plenty

white Coke can

A $3.3 billion coal gasification and carbon dioxide capture power plant owned by Duke Energy, built in order to pacify concerns over the fake global warming scare, will increase rates for its Indiana customers by 14.5 percent the next two years.

The Indianapolis Star reported last week that ratepayers will cover nearly $2.6 billion of the plant’s costs, as the result of a deal between the utility, its industrial customers, and Indiana’s government advocate for electricity consumers. Duke’s shareholders will pay for the remainder of the facility, built in Edwardsport, Ind. Between the Charlotte-based utility and its main contractors on the plant – General Electric and Bechtel – construction costs soared from an estimated $1.985 billion in 2006 to $3.3 billion. Carbon dioxide capture and storage, like much renewable energy, is a technology that has not proven viable on a scale that would meet the electricity demands of … Read More ➡

Sens. Grassley, Thune Want Answers on Fisker Loan

A123 logo

Why are taxpayers forced to underwrite a loan for the producer of a $107,000 toy vehicle for the wealthy, the majority of which is assembled at a European auto plant?

Two weeks ago Republican Sens. Charles Grassley of Iowa and John Thune of South Dakota asked Energy Secretary Steven Chu those and some other pointed questions about his department’s decisions, in granting a $529 million taxpayer loan guarantee to Fisker Automotive, a luxury electric car manufacturer.

The politically connected automaker has stumbled a number of times in delivering its six-figure Karma to market, with two recalls related to battery defects, an investigation of its top venture capital raisers, and layoffs of dozens of “green jobs” that had been bragged about by the Obama administration.

The senators questioned the wisdom of extending the loan – which has now been suspended after issuance of $193 million because of Fisker’s troubles – … Read More ➡

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