Green Tech Doesn’t Need Taxpayer ‘Investment’

Google logoPresident Obama said in his State of the Union speech last month that he would not “walk away from the promise of clean energy,” and according to a Politico report, he “doubled-down” on the promise by highlighting (more) commitments to federal grants and incentives for wind energy, solar power and natural gas vehicles in quasi-campaign speeches out West.

“We’re not going to cede the wind industry or the solar industry or the battery industry to China or Germany because we’re too timid to make that same commitment here in the United States,” the president said at another appearance at Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado. “We’ve got to double down on a clean-energy industry that’s never been more promising.”

The president speaks as if these energy technologies would wither without government support. But last year USA Today reported that big companies were “aggressively” jumping into clean technology, with one … Read More ➡

UAW Weighs in on GM’s “No-Strike Clause”

UAW strike photoI recently questioned the existence of a binding “no-strike clause” that the media reported on back when General Motors was making a plea for its taxpayer-funded bailout. The claims were that the UAW could not strike at GM or Chrysler until 2015. UAW Communications Coordinator, Tom Brune, has responded and gave a bit of clarification as to what the so-called no-strike clause actually means.

The response by Mr. Brune is appreciated, but we still see this subject from two different points of view. My feeling is that the no-strike clause was misrepresented to the public and implied that UAW workers at GM could not strike until 2015. It seems Mr. Brune feels that the clause exists in the state of a National arbitration agreement as Local UAWs are required to have strikes approved by the International UAW and he requests that I “set the record straight.”

So here are some … Read More ➡

What’s Behind Lutz’s Chevy Volt Tirade?

Bob Lutz & VoltWell-respected car guy and General Motors supporter, Bob Lutz, posted a piece on Forbes that attacked “right-wing” criticism of the Chevy Volt. With all due respect and noting that I have nowhere near the credentials of Mr. Lutz, I feel it appropriate to respond to the ridiculous defense that we have seen of a vehicle that is costing taxpayers billions of dollars while offering little in return. I also have some questions of my own for Mr. Lutz and GM.

First, let’s address the claims that criticism of the Volt is political. Why do those that have different opinions than those supporting the tax subsidization of the Chevy Volt get vilified as right-wing agents with an ulterior motive? It is also the height of hypocrisy to complain about criticism of the Volt being political when the car itself has been nothing but about politics.

Let’s review the history of the … Read More ➡

Taxpayer Cash for Ener1 Helped a Thrice-Failed Foreign EV Company

Think City carLast week yet another treasured Obama administration “Green” energy company – electric vehicle battery manufacturer Ener1went bankrupt, after having been granted $118 million in stimulus funds in August 2009. But the gift did more than just sustain it and subsidiary EnerDel; the cash enabled the company to bail out what would be its top customer, a Norwegian electric car company that had already been drained of cash on at least three previous occasions.

Oslo-based Think Global itself filed for bankruptcy again last June.

Think, whose primary model is a two-seater called the Think City, was to produce its glorified electric scooters at a revamped plant in Elkhart, Ind. – a plan that was also endorsed and supported by popular (with national Republicans) Gov. Mitch Daniels, who is still dreamed about by some conservatives as a worthy presidential candidate. Think’s economic development goals were closely linked to … Read More ➡

Gov’t Conflict of Interest on Chevy Volt Probe?

NLPC Associate Fellow Mark Modica last night discussed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigation of the Chevy Volt fires with Gerri Willis on the Fox Business Network. Here’s a transcript:

Gerri Willis:  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA, says the Chevy Volt, the controversial electric car the Obama administration has touted as a major step forward, step forward towards a green future is perfectly safe to drive. But does the government have too much of a vested interest in the Volt?  Joining us now is Mark Modica from Philadelphia, of the National Legal and Policy Center associate fellow. Welcome to the show, Mark. It’s great to have you here. Look, we can trust NHTSA on this, right? I mean, they are a federal agency. Do you disagree?

Mark Modica:  Yes, considering that their … Read More ➡

Did DOE Rush to Give Away Stimulus Compromise National Security?

The hurry to take advantage of funds appropriated through the Recovery Act for “shovel ready” projects impelled the federal agencies – especially the Department of Energy – to hastily allocate the money, and as a result taxpayer money flowed to projects marred by fraud, corruption, poor workmanship, failing companies, and crony corporate socialism.

And now DOE Inspector General Gregory Friedman has discovered the rush to distribute stimulus money may have compromised national security. In an audit report of the department’s management of the Smart Grid Investment Grant Program, which received $3.5 billion to modernize and improve the reliability of the U.S. power grid, the IG found that grant recipients’ plans to prevent “malicious cyber attacks” were often inadequate.

“In our review of security plans,” the report said, “we noted that the plans did not always include sufficient information related to risk assessments and/or other important elements, and, that … Read More ➡

Rep. Meeks Threatens to ‘Go After’ NLPC

Meeks photoIn a recent interview with the “City and State” website, which covers New York politics, Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) said that he wants “to go after” our not-for-profit status. The threat was part of a more general attack on the New York Post, which has published a series of articles based on information we have provided. We have also provided information to the New York Times and New York Daily News. All the headlines have led to a House Ethics Committee investigation, and reportedly, a grand jury investigation of Meeks’ finances.

We are not exactly quaking in our boots. Richard Nixon first made popular using the IRS to go after perceived enemies, and it has seldom worked. And just what would be the basis for Meeks’ challenge to our tax status? In the interview, Meeks reveals his smoking gun:

What do I have here? [Laughs, and pulls out

Read More ➡

Was UAW No-Strike Clause Another GM Bailout Deception?

Back during the days of General Motors’ bankruptcy proceedings, media reports cited the many “sacrifices” made by the politically favored UAW. I have long wondered what these many sacrifices were, as UAW members seem to be doing pretty well since the GM bankruptcy. One such “sacrifice” was a supposed agreement that the UAW could not go on strike at GM until after 2015, as mentioned in this Bloomberg piece, and accepted as fact by all media sources. I questioned this assertion in a piece I wrote in December of 2010, but as has been the case with much of the coverage of GM, the potential GM deception was left unchallenged by auto journalists and the mainstream media. Recent reports of a strike authorized by GM UAW workers in Kansas now raise the question of if my suspicions were correct that there are no binding agreements to prevent strikes at … Read More ➡

Taxpayers Take Hit as Layoffs, Bankruptcies Plague Green Firms

Ener1 photoFederal tax credits, loan and grant programs that expired at the end of last year have plugged the financial flow that made so-called “renewables” and electric vehicles viable, so they are now shedding employees and going bankrupt, illustrating that the “clean” industry owed its existence solely to government.

Even with the government money, they are failing. Yesterday Indiana-based Ener1, an energy storage company that received $118.5 million from DOEfiled for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Despite plans to have 1,400 employees in Indiana by 2015, the company had downsized in the state from 380 to approximately 250 since March. Ener1’s stock price fell from more than $4 a share to under a dollar, and the company was booted from the NASDAQ stock exchange in October, when its stock was trading for less than 20 cents.

The Department of Energy seems to have no limit in its willingness to subsidize … Read More ➡

Will GM’s Akerson Come Clean on the Chevy Volt?

Akerson and VoltGeneral Motors’ CEO, Dan Akerson, is scheduled to testify at congressional hearings on the NHTSA delay in reporting Chevy Volt fires. GM and the government agency waited about five months to report an incident involving a Volt which erupted in flames weeks after a crash-test. Up to this point, Akerson has not exactly been honest about the Volt; can we now expect him to come clean?

A culture of deceit has been evident at GM since the Obama Administration orchestrated a manipulated bankruptcy process that favored the politically powerful UAW over other classes. It was during the time of the bankruptcy process that the Chevy Volt hype gathered steam as the public was presented with a green wonder-car that served as partial justification for using $50 billion of taxpayer money to bailout GM. While Akerson’s part in the story came later, the stage was set for the Volt to become … Read More ➡

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