This June's United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UN CSD) in Rio de Janeiro will largely sidestep discussions of climate-change theories as leaders perceive the subject to be too controversial, according to summit insiders seeking ambitious and wide-ranging agreements on the world’s future. What is being touted as the biggest political gathering of the year will instead focus on framing UN “green” goals in terms of economic prosperity and environmental necessity.

 

Ener1 Inc., which owns an electric car battery-maker that reaped a $118-million grant from the Obama administration, filed for bankruptcy protection Thursday. The New York-based company claimed defaults on its bond debt were spurred by rising competition from China and other countries. Ener1 listed $73.9 million in assets and $90.5 million in debt as of December 31 in Chapter 11 papers filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

 

The Obama administration really needs to get its act together. According to CNSNews.com, at least two of the claims President Barack Obama made during his recent State of the Union address have been directly contradicted by his own administration. One of them, in fact, was contradicted by his administration at the very moment he was uttering it!

 

As environmental groups hail President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline, billionaire and prominent Democratic donor Warren Buffett is set to reap a handsome reward from the decision. Buffett’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC is a notable beneficiary — among other U.S. and Canadian railroads — of the move, as it is one of the railroads that will transport the Canadian oil if the pipeline isn’t approved.

 

House Republicans unleashed a barrage of criticism Wednesday during a House hearing on Chevrolet’s Volt electric car, after the head of the federal auto safety agency insisted that the vehicles are not dangerous. "The Chevrolet Volt is safe to drive and it has been safe to drive the whole time," David Strickland, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), told a congressional panel. "Not only would I drive it, I would [take] my wife, my mother and my baby sister along for the ride."

 

President Barack Obama claimed in his third State of the Union address that he supported a policy of "no bailouts, no handouts, and no copouts." But he said this after he had outlined more than half a dozen new spending handout proposals in a speech that also praised bailouts. On taxes, Obama concluded of retaining outrageously high middle-class tax rates and increasing the tax rates on the rich: "That’s how we’ll reduce our deficit."

 

Former Congressman William D. Delahunt from Massachusetts established a lobbying firm, the Delahunt Group, soon after retiring as one of the federal legislature’s most liberal lawmakers. After claiming an office on the 16th floor of a Boston skyscraper, Delahunt launched his business, and one of his first clients was the small town of Hull, on Massachusetts Bay, which agreed to pay him $15,000 a month for assistance in launching a wind energy project.

 

Feeling pain at the gas pump? Congressman Dennis Kucinich thinks he has a solution: Tax “unreasonable” oil company profits. The Ohio Democrat has introduced the Gas Price Spike Act, which he claims will “reduce the price of gasoline” by confiscating part or all of an oil company’s profits that exceed an amount deemed “reasonable” by a panel of unelected bureaucrats.

 

President Obama rejected a permit to expand the controversial Keystone pipeline Wednesday, blaming Republicans for ordering a hurried deadline that, he claimed, did not provide sufficient time for officials to review the plan. "The rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline's impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment," the President said in a statement.

The White House disputed that the pipeline provision that Republicans attached to the short-term payroll tax cut extensions last year — which forced the Obama administration to make a decision in two months — is what dismantled the project. "This announcement is not a judgment on the merits of the pipeline, but the arbitrary nature of a deadline that prevented the State Department from gathering the information necessary to approve the project and protect the American people," Obama charged in his written remarks. "I'm disappointed that Republicans in Congress forced this decision, but it does not change my administration's commitment to American-made energy that creates jobs and reduces our dependence on oil."

TransCanada’s Keystone XL, which would transport Canadian crude oil from Alberta, Canada, to southern parts of the United States, has been battling an ongoing review from the State Department, and despite receiving several other federal, state, and local approvals, the department retracted from signing off on the project last year after environmental groups and Nebraska lawmakers protested the measure.

Another taxpayer-funded solar-panel company, Willard & Kelsey Solar Group LLC, is undergoing operational issues, as it recently laid off about 40 people indefinitely due to delays in its production line. CEO and board chairman Michael Cicak would not comment on the timeline of the production changes or when the laid-off employees might return to their jobs.

 

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