A stimulus-backed Department of Energy loan program that has not been tapped for four years, and was deemed unwanted two years ago by the Government Accountability Office, is suddenly ready and willing to dole out more taxpayer millions again – to a corporation that doesn’t need it.
In fact, Alcoa’s expansion project for which the funding is targeted – to produce special aluminum for automotive companies in Tennessee – has already been underway for 19 months and was first revealed almost two years ago.
DOE announced on Thursday that the renewed activity out of its Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program will deliver a $259 million loan to the multinational conglomerate. The excuse for the financing – considering that ATVM’s purpose was to support production of alternative energy-powered automobiles – is to produce “high-strength” aluminum for automakers “looking to lightweight their vehicles.” Yes, they used “lightweight” as a verb, … Read More ➡
Those in business who have to oblige the Environmental Protection Agency (or the state government agencies that carry out federal laws) on a daily basis know there’s an endless list of issues upon which the cabinet agency can (and does) interfere and obstruct. But a few recent examples reveal the extent to which the government regulators are willing to extinguish our individual freedoms.
Attention this week is trained on the Supreme Court, where a costly Obama regulation on mercury emissions from utilities’ coal-fired power plants is under a challenge. That’s a big issue that addresses whether EPA conducted a proper cost-benefit analysis for limiting those emissions, which has major implications related to the cost of electricity, but is otherwise complex for the layman.
But other areas of increased meddling are more plain – and obnoxious.
Early this month the Associated Press reported that EPA plans to introduce new rules… Read More ➡
Since 2011 NLPC has tracked the stimulus-funded fiascoes that were/are battery-maker A123 Systems and luxury electric automaker Fisker Automotive, who at one point were business partners (or stuck with each other, depending on your perspective). Both eventually went bankrupt, and cost taxpayers millions of dollars from Department of Energy awards that were never paid back. Chinese company Wanxiang Group ended up with both failed enterprises, buying their assets for cheap.
While the Obama administration declared the two bankruptcies (among others, such as Solyndra) part of their “successful” green energy investment strategy, two Republican Senators – Charles Grassley of Iowa and John Thune of South Dakota – have applied pressure to DOE over the fate of American jobs and intellectual property created by A123 and Fisker, but paid for with U.S. tax dollars.
Now, as the Senators continue to express concern about DOE policy over innovations … Read More ➡
Last time NLPC checked on Tesla Motors – as 2014 closed – we noted a growing skepticism largely due to CEO Elon Musk’s consistent habit of overpromising production and results, without delivering.
Then ten days ago he reported year-end earnings, and matters have worsened, although you wouldn’t know it from most of the undeterred “rah-rah” media and Wall Street fanboys. But there are exceptions.
First, the brutal basics – Tesla suffered a fourth-quarter loss of $107.6 million, which was nearly seven times the loss ($16.3 million) during the same period last year. The company lost $294 million for the whole year, compared to a $74 million loss in 2013, and has not recorded a profit in its history (except in a couple of quarters where it employed accounting gimmickry and depended heavily on subsidies). According to Associated Press, analysts expected a profit of 30 cents per share, but Tesla … Read More ➡
Another disturbing revelation of experiments on humans by the Environmental Protection Agency has been uncovered, after similar tests were exposed at EPA’s Human Studies Facility at the University of North Carolina 2 ½ years ago.
This time the “research” was conducted at the University of Southern California and the University of California at Los Angeles. The test subjects were 20 children between the ages of 10 and 15, who were exposed to up to 300 micrograms of diesel exhaust particles via nasal spray, as part of a project that ran from 2003 to 2010. The information was uncovered in documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Act by the Energy & Environment Legal Institute and the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, and explained in detail at the Web site JunkScience.com.
As both organizations explained, EPA long ago made official determinations that particulate matter, such as that from diesel … Read More ➡
What was a prolonged hibernation for “Risky Business,” after its brief burst of ballyhoo early last summer, has finally ended. The well-paid consultants and staffers for megarich global warming activist Tom Steyer (pictured in center) are back after his failed financial foray ($74 million) to elect Democrats to the Senate.
After the June 2014 release of its first report, Risky Business: The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States, they decided to carve that sucker up by geography. Last week they announced to the world that we first must alert folks in flyover country with the new report, Heat in the Heartland: Climate Change and Economic Risk in the Midwest. It’s clear from their Web site that future regional reports are to come. Steyer’s Risky Business partners Michael Bloomberg and Henry Paulson also threw their names on the Midwest report “findings.”
It contains all … Read More ➡
It’s been another year of unwarranted enthusiasm for Tesla Motors and CEO Elon Musk, who parlayed that exuberance for his unprofitable company into a $1.3 billion incentives package from the state of Nevada.
But despite that legislatively unanimous award from three months ago, and a stock price that has flown high for most of the year, there are signs that the shine over the luxury electric automaker is beginning to dull.
Perhaps the most noteworthy skepticism has arisen from popular automotive Web site Jalopnik, which otherwise has been a fairly reliable (but not robotically so) cheerleader for Tesla. An end-of-year article written by blogger Damon Lavrinc recounts the automaker’s legacy of non-fulfillment and asks, “What will Tesla and Elon Musk over-promise next?”
“So where are those battery-swapping stations Tesla promised?” Lavrinc wonders. “Or its big push into the energy storage biz? Didn’t we hear something about the … Read More ➡
Global warming alarmists have spent time and money that spans decades and has cost billions of dollars, yet all their tactics and messaging haven’t moved the public-concern meter above “who cares?” So-called “climate change” does not even register near the top of environmental problems that most Americans worry about – much less among all policy issues – according to Gallup polling.
That doesn’t mean the fear-mongers have given up, of course, as the latest effort by environmental pressure group Ceres illustrates. The activist group – which exerts its influence via shareholder activism (claiming $10 trillion in assets) in pursuit of their definition of a “sustainable” global economy – last week sent a letter endorsed by 223 companies to President Obama, in support of EPA’s controversial proposed standard for existing power plants to limit carbon dioxide emissions. Some of the largest and most recognized corporations signed on, including Adidas, … Read More ➡
Three years ago NLPC reported that Google would abandon its two-year effort to produce “Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal” (RE<C), a frivolous exercise that came at the height of the Obama-driven fervor to create “green” jobs with visions of stimulus-nourished wind and solar projects.
The company’s Green Energy Czar Bill Weihl in 2009 had boasted to Reuters that he expected “within a few years” that his people would be able to demonstrate technology that produced renewable energy cheaper than coal.
“It is even odds, more or less,” said Weihl, a Time magazine “hero of the environment,” at the time. “In three years, we could have multiple megawatts of plants out there.
Weihl left Google shortly after the company killed RE<C, but not before the company poured more than $850 million into renewable energy ventures. But now two engineers who worked on the project, who … Read More ➡
As the nation awaits a decision from a grand jury Ferguson, Mo. about whether they will charge a police officer for shooting and killing black teenager Michael Brown, the new leader of the Congressional Black Caucus has already publicly stated that anything but indictment will not represent justice.
The comments (audio) came as Congressman G.K. Butterfield, a North Carolina Democrat, assumed the chairmanship of the CBC last week. He expressed his concern in an interview with WUNC in Chapel Hill, a NPR affiliate, when asked about the problem of civil unrest in “places like Ferguson” and what he thought his role was in “moving conversations forward” with regard to race relations.
“I would certainly hope that the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri will find that there is sufficient evidence to conclude that a crime probably was committed,” Butterfield responded. “To lay out that crime, and to let a jury of … Read More ➡