A foreign renewable energy company, that U.S. taxpayers hold a major stake in via the Department of Energy Loan Program Office, is imperiled by massive debt and has begun the process of negotiating with its creditors as a prelude to possible bankruptcy.
The company is Abengoa, based in Spain, which reportedly holds 887 subsidiaries around the world. Reuters reported at the end of last month that investors declined to provide needed capital for the firm, which led to what is called, under Spanish law, “pre-insolvency proceedings.” That entails a four-month attempt to alleviate debt burdens. If that falls short, then formal bankruptcy proceedings would likely follow, which would be Spain’s largest in history. Effects would ripple globally.
Conducting union business and performing employment duties are two activities that don’t, and shouldn’t, overlap. Yet in a number of jurisdictions, taxpayers are being forced to pay for both. In Arizona, at least, this trend has hit a detour. This August, the Arizona Court of Appeals, affirming a lower court decision, ruled that a Memorandum of Understanding forcing the City of Phoenix to compensate local cops for union activity, while not necessarily violating the state constitution’s Gift Clause, imposed grossly excessive costs. This was a significant, if incomplete victory for public accountability. And further pushback against release time clauses is occurring in courts and legislatures across the nation.
Contrary to the excuses that Nissan has supplied about the loss of capacity for owners of the all-electric Leaf in the desert Southwest – especially super-hot Phoenix – a tightly-controlled test of a dozen of the vehicles showed that all of them experienced reduced range. Even a month-old Leaf could not recharge to 100 percent.
In what looks like an attempt to avoid a potentially costly and disastrous recall of its taxpayer-funded electric vehicles, Nissan has dismissed the concerns of its Leaf customers in Arizona and other hot states by claiming the apparent loss of battery capacity is “normal.”
Owners of the company’s dismal selling plug-in have banded together to collectively test their vehicles and see just how “normal” their loss of “bars” on their power indicators are.
Securities law firms are lining up to get a piece of the action after a class action lawsuit was filed against federally subsidized First Solar, Inc., allegedly because the company failed to disclose the massive costs it was incurring due to defects in its solar panels, leading investors to believe the company’s stock was worth more than its actual value.
In a year where Solyndra became the face of the solar industry’s chronic failures, even the holiday season could not prevent one last flurry of layoffs in 2011.
The Mountain Enterprise (based in Frazier Park, Calif.) reported over the weekend that First Solar, Inc. – which the media sometimes identifies as the largest solar company in the world – laid off half its employees on Friday at its Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One project. The facility has been the subject of controversy in the local community over the effects it will have on land use, wildlife, and water usage.
In the aftermath of the Solyndra scandal, in which $535 million guaranteed by taxpayers for the solar company’s loan has been lost, President Obama told ABC News his people “felt that it was a good bet.”
Reverend Al Sharpton has something new to be angry about. Last Friday, April 23, Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer signed legislation known as "SB1070" requiring law enforcement authorities to ask all criminal suspects to provide evidence of legal U.S. residence. The law is set to take effect 90 days after signing. Sharpton is determined to prevent that from happening. He recently announced his intent to travel to Arizona to stage mass protests against what he says is an assault on Hispanic civil rights.
Staging this campaign will cost money. But "the Rev" doesn't have many worries on this score. His New York-based nonprofit group, National Action Network (NAN), continues to receive financial support from some of the nation's biggest and most well known corporations and unions. This was very much in evidence at NAN's four-day 12th annual conference, his biggest fundraising event of the year, held earlier this month in New York City.