Hundreds of activists showed up at a hearing about so-called “smart meters” held by the Texas Public Utility Commission this week, with most of them seeking a way to opt-out from receiving one of the controversial electricity meters that critics link to serious privacy and health concerns. A Republican member of the state legislature even promised that if the PUC refused to allow consumers a choice, he would introduce legislation to force its hand. 

 A federal appeals court has put the kibosh on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) latest regulatory scheme to curb soot- and smog-forming air pollution. The rule, which was shot down Tuesday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, was set to impose a greater regulatory burden on coal-fired power plants while potentially boosting electric rates for consumers.

JBS CEO Art Thompson's weekly video news update for August 20-26, 2012. In this weekly news update for August 20-26, 2012, JBS CEO Art Thompson discusses: how the West Nile virus has struck a JBS official; how instability is rising in the Middle East while our dependence on oil from the region rises as well; how South African violence will be used to control their people; how China is moving in on African news bureaus; and how Assange of Wikileaks has been given asylum by communist-led Ecuador.

 Combatting the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) flurry of new regulations on coal and other energy resources has become a campaign platform for Republicans in key battleground states. GOP contenders in states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia are directing their focus to the Obama administration’s seemingly anti-coal agenda, while blaming their Democratic rivals for bolstering the EPA’s intrusive regulatory efforts.

 The Obama administration and its Energy Department are under fire over controversial “green energy” schemes yet again, with Republican lawmakers alleging on August 15 that senior officials may have violated federal law by attempting to conceal relevant records using private e-mail accounts. Last week, the House Oversight Committee also requested more information from President Obama about his personal involvement in funneling billions of taxpayer dollars to politically connected companies such as Solyndra that later failed.

 A new proposal by the Obama administration to expand drilling to half of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A) has attracted criticism from the oil industry, as the plan still leaves a broad area off limits to new oil development. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said new development will be permitted in an 11.8 million-acre geographical area, which purportedly holds about 549 million barrels of oil, while coastal regions such as Kasegaluk Lagoon and Peard Bay — where there is a higher concentration of seals and polar bears — will receive “special protection.”

The current drought afflicting the country is driving up the price of corn and reviving the debate over ethanol mandates that redirect corn from food to fuel.  

Because of the drought, corn yield per acre this year will be the lowest since 1995, while the actual production of corn will be the lowest since 2006. A congressional mandate to turn corn into ethanol in order to reduce emissions requires converting nearly 40 percent of that harvest into 13.2 billion gallons of ethanol. That leaves precious little to feed cattle and people, driving up the price.

 As congressional Republicans continue their assault on President Obama’s seemingly failed “green” agenda, the White House announced August 7 it will expedite seven federal wind and solar projects across four western states. The programs, which will be grounded in Nevada, Arizona, California, and Wyoming, will generate enough power to run 1.5 million homes, the White House said in a press release.

 American lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are expressing serious concerns about a bid by the communist dictatorship ruling mainland China to purchase Canadian energy firm Nexen and its vast U.S. oil and natural gas holdings. The deal by the Chinese regime, acting through its state-owned front company China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), also represents a potential national security risk, warned Republican and Democrat members of Congress.

The latest report from the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) not only confirmed the explosive growth in the country’s proven reserves of oil and natural gas, it also shattered popular myths about America’s decline.

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