Despite ongoing controversy over the federal government’s scandalous loan guarantee to the now-bankrupt Solyndra, a $25 billion green-car loan fund has managed to avoid the congressional guillotine. The Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program, which was established during the Bush years and began dispensing funds during the Obama administration, is designed to provide debt capital to the auto industry and assist manufacturers in retooling facilities and equipment and improving fuel economy for vehicles manufactured in the United States.
In his 2011 State of the Union Address, President Obama vowed to "break our dependence on oil" and pledged that the United States would "become the first country to have one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015." Considering the ATVM loan program and consumer offerings such as Cash for Clunkers, the President’s proclamation is not a market goal, but a government goal, and as he perceives it, such a target is only achievable through government-sponsored loans and subsidies.
The ATVM program has become a hot target for conservatives, but Senate Republicans choked legislative efforts from House Republicans to shave the $25 billion program by $1.5 billion to help avert a government shutdown and outweigh new spending for disaster relief.
As the Solyndra bankruptcy debacle begins to unwind, President Obama and political leaders will find that an increasingly bright light is shone on the federal government’s mischievous administration of green energy loans and subsidies. William Yeatman, energy policy analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) — a think tank promoting free markets and limited government — testified at a House Water and Power Subcommittee of the Natural Resources Committee hearing Thursday on a contentious loan program orchestrated by the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), a power marketing administration within the U.S. Department of Energy.
Packaged in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) — Obama’s 2009 economic stimulus plan — the $3.25 billion WAPA loan was authorized to finance various energy projects relating to renewable energy generation. Naturally, the solar technology manufacturer Solyndra, and its controversial bankruptcy, recent FBI raid, and special-interest scandal that left taxpayers on the hook for $535 million, has brought into question the financial viability of taxpayer-funded investments in green energy.
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the TRAIN Act, which calls for establishing a committee to analyze the economic impact of recent regulations imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Representatives John Sullivan (R-Okla.) and Jim Matheson (D-Utah) introduced the bill in May. "TRAIN" is short for the bill's imposing title, "Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act of 2011."
"Taxpayers deserve an honest accounting how much EPA's regulations are costing our economy and hurting American consumers," declared Sullivan. "[T]he EPA's regulatory train wreck is killing our economy and costing American jobs."
The bill includes an amendment to delay EPA's Utility MACT (maximum achievable control technology) and new transport rules which set unprecedented emissions standards on large institutions. It forces EPA's rules to wait six months after completion of the TRAIN Act analysis.
The government of Uganda and the“carbon credits” firm New Forests Company — accredited by the United Nations and largely financed by the World Bank and the European Union — are under intense public pressure after evidence emerged that over 20,000 poor Ugandan farmers were brutally evicted from their lands in order for the U.K.-based company to plant trees. The atrocities, publicized in a September 22 report by the non-profit aid group Oxfam, have made headlines around the world.
Under the guise of saving the environment from global warming and climate change, armed enforcers reportedly burned locals’ houses to the ground — along with at least one child who was inside his home when it was set ablaze. The goon squads also reportedly terrorized and beat the residents, threatening to murder anyone who resisted.
“We were beaten by soldiers. They beat my husband and put him in jail,” Naiki Apanabang, who obtained her family’s land in recognition of her grandfather’s military service, told Oxfam investigators. “The eviction was very violent.” Apanabang and her eight children no longer have enough food to eat — let alone money for schooling.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in an AP interview on September 21 that the Obama administration will continue to support solar power. He made the statement despite the growing scandal over $528 million in loan guarantees to the now-bankrupt California solar power company Solyndra and the practical failure of myriad “alternative energy sources” such as wind and solar power. "I think the future for solar energy is bright. It's not going to be a perfect path where every project proposed is going to be built toward completion." He added that the case of Solyndra demonstrated the challenges facing solar energy industries. Other politicians, such as Governor Brown, stand firmly behind the concept of such government-sponsored enterprises.
Alternative energy, as it is commonly called, is energy that private investors have not pursued in the absence of government help. The search for such energy has been ongoing for the last 38 years, at least, when the OPEC nations embargoed oil around the time of the Yom Kippur War. Government support for alternative energy sources has existed since at least Jimmy Carter’s speech on a future of austerity while he was wearing a cardigan sweater in the White House.
The Obama administration is proposing new automobile regulations, including a doubling of fuel economy requirements, that will make cars more expensive and less safe while costing thousands of jobs, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA). Meeting in Washington, D.C., to lobby against the proposed regulations, NADA circulated a handout called “A Flawed Fuel Economy Structure Produces a Flawed Result” that describes the expected outcomes of those rules. A copy was provided to CNSNews.com, which also interviewed NADA’s director of legislative affairs and communications, Bailey Wood.
The most significant new mandate is a Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard of 54.5 miles per gallon, to be met in 2025. “The increase piggybacks Obama’s 2009 mandate for a CAFE average of 35.5 by 2016,” says Popular Mechanics, “and is the largest mandatory fuel economy increase in history.” The administration claims this requirement will reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil — an objective all previous CAFE standards failed to achieve — and cut down on carbon emissions, thereby reducing the threat of “global warming.”
Funny, isn't it? Whenever we see Republicans pinning a tale of profligate spending on the Democratic donkeys, we find the Grand Old Party with its elephant trunks buried deep in the same money trough. Republicans both in and out of Congress have been quite vocal in lambasting the Obama administration over a Department of Energy guarantee for a $535 million loan to Solyndra, Inc., a California company producing solar panels.
The loan, approved the under the President's $790 billion economic stimulus program two years ago, was praised by Obama and Vice President Joe Biden as the kind of investment in clean, green energy that will create jobs and keep America a leader in the global marketplace. But early this month, Solyndra filed for bankruptcy, leaving Uncle Sam and the U.S. Taxpayers on the hook for roughly $528 million. The company is now under investigation by the both the FBI and the U.S. Congress.
Rep. Griffith's bill would delay EPA's Boiler MACT Regs.
Shell Oil is set to tap Alaska's vast oil reserves now that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a final air quality permit to allow exploration development north of the Arctic Circle. The permit allows Shell to set up its Noble Discoverer drillship in the Chukchi Sea along with a fleet of support vessels including icebreakers and oil spill response crafts. The company will be allowed to operate them no more than 120 days annually starting in 2012. The permit sets strict air pollution control limits on the drilling equipment.
In a press release, EPA explained the new permits are revised versions of those issued to Shell in 2010. At the time, environmental activist groups challenged them, and EPA's Environmental Appeals Board decided the original permits did not meet Clean Air Act standards. The new ones restrict fleet emissions by more than 50 percent from the levels allowed in 2010. EPA says it granted the new permits based largely on state-of-the-art pollution control equipment recently installed on the Discoverer and on Shell's agreement to further reduce emissions by adding more controls to its drilling fleet.
The Virginia Supreme Court has ruled in favor of an insurance carrier in an unprecedented case involving global warming. The court unanimously held that Steadfast Insurance Company is not obligated to cover court costs for the Virginia-based energy group AES Corporation under its liability policy in another lawsuit before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California.AES is one of 24 companies sued in that case by an Alaskan coastal village for damage to its community from global warming.
The villagers of Kivalina blame greenhouse gas emissions from the defendants' business operations for shoreline erosion they say will force relocation of their town. The ruling for Steadfast sets a precedent that businesses involved in climate change liability lawsuits may not be covered by their liability policies.