Bottomless Subsidies Needed to Keep DOE Electric Truck Project Alive

Frito Lay Electric TruckDespite little news over the past nine months since its last-minute abandonment of an initial public offering that was supposed to raise $76 million in cash, stimulus recipient Smith Electric Vehicles is showing little evidence it can inspire demand for its commercial trucks, like its plug-in car counterparts.

Smith’s selling point for its step vans was that, unlike electric automobiles, delivery routes in urban areas did not require a long range between refueling (or, recharging). Frequent stops and short distances alleviated the “range anxiety” that accompanies cars like the Nissan Leaf. Frito-Lay, Coca-Cola and Staples were cited as early adopters of the truck demonstration project, which was launched with the help of $32 million in taxpayer funds.

Alas, it’s not helping. Once holding the lofty expectations of the IPO last September, the company is now quietly noting it raised $8.6 million in “bridge” funding. CEO Bryan Hansel said that the … Read More ➡

Fuel Regulations Throw Md., Va. Carnival Cruise Jobs Overboard

Carnival Cruise LinerThe Environmental Protection Agency acts as if every new burdensome demand makes a huge difference for the health and wellbeing of humans, in addition to claims that its costly, excessive regulations upon private business are actual net job creators.

The data and facts easily debunk the agency’s junk science and alien economics, but unfortunately reality has failed to penetrate the Twilight Zone-ish bubble where EPA resides. So color the Beltway enviro-crats shocked every time a private sector industry decides it won’t play ball any more and cuts jobs and moves productivity elsewhere.

The latest corporate example of “I’ve had enough” is Carnival Cruise Lines (Flickr photo courtesy Lisa Andres), which announced last week it would end service from the harbors of Baltimore and Norfolk, Va., due to government requirements that its ships burn low-sulfur fuel within 200 nautical miles of the U.S. coast (with even stricter standards coming … Read More ➡

Bailed-Out GM Sponsors Chamber of Commerce’s Free Enterprise Tour; NLPC Launches FauxEnterprise.com

Faux EnterpriseThe National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) announced today the launch of FauxEnterprise.com, a satirical mimic of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Free Enterprise website at www.freeenterprise.com/tour.

The Free Enterprise site chronicles the “Free Enterprise Tour,” which would be a welcome undertaking if not for the sponsorship of bailed-out General Motors. According to NLPC President Peter Flaherty, “I don’t know who looks worse, the Chamber for not appreciating that the GM sponsorship looks silly to many people, or GM for acting like it’s a competitive company operating in a real marketplace.”

Flaherty said, “The auto bailout was not about preserving free enterprise, or even saving jobs. It was about bolstering the political power of the United Auto Workers (UAW). Today’s GM is not a capitalist success story but instead is an example of state-directed crony capitalism.”

“There has been no GM comeback. The U.S. Treasury still owns a significant … Read More ➡

Party Time for Corporations Who Love the Regulatory Favoritism Game

Obama InvescoPresident Obama’s speech last week that re-emphasized his commitment to reduce US carbon dioxide emissions brought dismay to those who appreciate affordable energy, but it sparked a celebration among corporate types who have long sought caps and taxes on CO2.

While it was still more words from the president, which don’t always match his actions, on CO2 limitation he has largely kept his promise to environmentalists. Critics slammed his plan to bypass Congress and to task the Environmental Protection Agency to curb emissions via executive order, but EPA has operated out of bounds since he was inaugurated in 2009 – especially with the “war against coal” that is now universally accepted as true.

“What has us most encouraged by the president’s speech is he is lacing up his gloves and getting ready for that fight,” said Michael Brune, executive director for the Sierra Club, in an interview … Read More ➡

Obama’s Words on Carbon Dioxide, Drilling Contradict His Actions

enhanced oil recoveryIn his much-hyped speech Tuesday, President Obama promised executive action – including greater regulations on the coal industry and approval of the Keystone Pipeline only if its “net effect on our climate” is not significant – to reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide that he alleges is the cause of global warming. He also called for the elimination of tax breaks for “big oil.”

“We can’t drill our way out of the energy and climate challenges that we face,” he said at Georgetown University.

If he really believes that, then why has his administration authorized billions of dollars in new projects to capture carbon dioxide (photo courtesy American Oil and Gas Reporter) and use it for “enhanced oil recovery?”

Take, for instance, the stimulus-funded “W. A. Parish Post Combustion CO2 Capture and Sequestration” project in Texas, in which the Department of Energy awarded $163 million to NRG Energy (and has … Read More ➡

The Many Costs of Obama’s Electric Car Folly

Obama/Volt photoIt appears that there is no end in sight to the Obama Administration’s costly quest to electrify America’s auto fleet, despite the recent flurry of reports that continue to confirm that the benefits of electric vehicles (EVs) are practically nonexistent in comparison to the costs. One of these reports even came from Obama’s own NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) panel which downplayed the importance of EVs and claimed that electric cars will only need to account for between one and three percent of car manufacturer’s product portfolios by 2025 for lofty government EPA requirements to be met.

The Autoguide.com article on the NHTSA panel findings states, “Despite those findings, the government has willingly shoveled millions of dollars at manufacturers and consumers in a ploy to popularize electric cars.” I would whole-heartedly agree with that, except it has been “billions” of dollars shoveled, not “millions.” And money is not all … Read More ➡

Sen. Menendez Took Married Girlfriend on Junket to Puerto Rico; Stayed at Taxpayer-Supported Governor’s House

Menendez/Reynolds photoNew Jersey Senator Robert Menendez and a married New Jersey woman named Cecelia Reynolds traveled to Puerto Rico in 2007, where they were guests at the Governor’s beach house, owned by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Photographic evidence appears to place them both at the beach house, and on the nearby beach, which is private and closed to the public.

It is not known how they traveled to Puerto Rico. In January, Menendez said he reimbursed $58,500 to Salomon Melgen, his largest political donor, for two private jet trips to the Caribbean, a substantial portion of his net worth. At the time Menendez said that there were no other trips.

As reported in the New York Post today:

The trip came at a time when the senator was trying to thwart the appointment of Rosa Emilia Rodriguez-Velez as the US attorney for Puerto Rico. He placed a “senatorial hold,” or

Read More ➡

Details Revealed of Fisker’s Waste and Mismanagement

As NLPC has covered Fisker Automotive’s catastrophic flop over the last few years since it was granted a $529-million taxpayer-guaranteed loan from the Department of Energy, one big question that repeatedly came up was: How could a company that produced only one electric car model burn through $1.4 billion in investment so quickly?

Reuters uncovered a number of reasons in a report published earlier this week. Citing documents and some sources, mostly anonymous, the news syndicate painted a disturbing picture of mismanagement, incompetence, disinformation, and squander. While businesses stumble and go out of business every day, Fisker’s case illustrates why government bureaucrats are only accidental successes as investors of public money at best, but often are horrific decision makers at worst.

“Fisker’s undoing had numerous causes,” Reuters reported. “Fundamentally, say suppliers and some insiders, executives simply couldn’t orchestrate the complex dance that leads from a design sketch to the … Read More ➡

Senate Labor Committee Approves Five NLRB Nominees; Old Issues Remain

The National Labor Relations Board, strictly speaking, should have shut down nearly five months ago. But it has kept on going anyway. And even if President Obama’s slate of five nominees takes office, the issues surrounding its legal limbo almost certainly will continue onward to the Supreme Court.  On May 22, the Senate Labor Committee approved all five and sent their names in one package for a full floor Senate vote.  In February the president had re-nominated two members, Sharon Block and Richard Griffin, both of whose recess appointments were declared unconstitutional on January 25 by a federal appeals court. And in April, Obama named three more persons to round out the five-member board – Harry Johnson, Philip Miscimarra and Mark Pearce. Sound complicated? It’s even more so in light of a new bill passed by the House that could shut down the agency indefinitely.

The National Labor Relations Board … Read More ➡

Will Detroit Follow in GM’s Footsteps and Stiff Creditors?

GM building photoA recent Reuters article regarding the likelihood of a bankruptcy filing by the city of Detroit may come as a surprise to those who have heard nothing but positive spin on Motor City’s resurgence since General Motors and Chrysler emerged from their Obama-manipulated bankruptcies. Who can forget Clint Eastwood’s 2012 Super Bowl ad which gave a heartfelt tribute (paid for by Italian-owned Chrysler) trumpeting Detroit’s comeback? It seems like the outlook is now not so rosy for Detroit as its emergency manager Kevyn Orr puts the odds of a bankruptcy for the city at 50/50.

A proposal has been set forth by Orr to creditors offering them just pennies on the dollar reminiscent of GM’s low-ball offer to its bondholders which was made just prior to their bankruptcy filing. The GM offer was not made in good faith and never had a chance of succeeding. The parallel reality is that … Read More ➡

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