Energy Secretary Steven Chu is claiming that scientific evidence for climate change is as convincing as ever — a comment that arrives just as controversies surrounding the renewable energy industry and new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules face staunch opposition from Republicans and industry groups.

 
 

Solar Trust of America, an energy firm based in Oakland, California, declared bankruptcy on April 2, fewer than 10 months after breaking ground on a project near Blythe, California, that was to be the world’s largest solar power energy project built on public lands. In its bankruptcy filing, the company claims to have assets of up to $10 million. Those assets, however, are dubious, consisting primarily of the Blythe project and another project in Riverside County, California, neither of which has gotten off the ground. Meanwhile, its liabilities may run as high as $100 million.

 

As the issue of rising gas prices dominates Obama’s current standing among the public, the White House is scrambling to broadcast the President’s purported dedication to U.S. energy independence. And one strategy the administration is engaging in is to accuse congressional Republicans of stonewalling executive efforts to improve the country’s energy and environmental stature.

 

In a 51-47 vote, the U.S. Senate nixed a Democratic proposal to confiscate billions of dollars in tax breaks from some of the largest oil companies. Sixty votes were needed to push through Sen. Robert Menendez’s (D-N.J.) bill, which would have stripped billions in tax deductions from the "big five" oil companies, which includes BP, Exxon, Shell, Chevron, and ConocoPhilips.

 

Remember $1.83 per gallon gasoline? Seems like a very distant memory? That was the national average price we paid for the precious liquid when President Obama took over the White House in January 2009.

 

The Obama administration is surging forward with a first-of-its-kind EPA rule for new power plants, in what Republicans and industry groups say will inflate electricity prices and possibly kill off coal, the preeminent U.S. energy source. The EPA announced the rule Tuesday, with a goal to curb carbon dioxide emissions by imposing strict regulations on new coal-fired plants, including a limit that caps plant emissions to not more than 1,000 tons of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour of energy generated.

 

Republicans see rising oil and gasoline prices as an opportunity to score political points on President Obama. To be sure, Obama is partly responsible for the rise in world prices and could do something about it. The irony is that Republicans would emphatically oppose the one measure that would be most effective in easing the pressure on prices right now: defusing tension in the Middle East by taking the war threat against Iran off the table.

 

After once touting Solyndra as a success story, President Obama sought to distance himself from the now-bankrupt and scandal-plagued manufacturer of solar panels, blaming Congress and China for the debacle instead of accepting responsibility. Critics of the administration promptly blasted the comments.

 

In a new, first-ever analysis, the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) issued a report showing that there were 3.1 million "green" jobs in the United States in 2010, or 2.4 percent of the nation’s overall employment. Green Goods and Services jobs, the BLS indicates, "are found in businesses that produce goods and provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources."

 

President Obama embarked on a four-state energy tour this week and made his first stop in Boulder City, a Nevada town about 20 miles outside Las Vegas. The town is home to the Copper Mountain Solar 1 Facility, the largest photovoltaic solar power plant in the United States, where the President renewed his support for the solar industry.

 

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