Report Suggests Solyndra-Like Problems in Federal Nuclear Power Loan Guarantee

The Obama administration’s approval of a federal loan guarantee for the construction of two Georgia nuclear reactors was met with applause from across the political spectrum, but new analysis reveals potential Solyndra-like problems facing the project.

“E-mails indicate periodic involvement by the Secretary of Energy on loans and loan terms, and by the White House and top levels of Department of the Treasury on other issues related to the Vogtle Project,” reads the analysis by Earth Track and Synapse Energy Economics, which was conducted on behalf of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and Friends of the Earth.

Earth Track and Synapse Energy Economics analyzed hundreds of documents obtained through multiple Freedom of Information Act requests.

They shed light on potential problems with the loan guarantee process for the Vogtle nuclear reactors in Georgia, including indications of political involvement from the Obama administration in key financial decisions.

“We are not alleging … any improper conduct. However, it is clear that top officials are engaged and interested in trying to make the Vogtle loan guarantee work,” Max Chang, a report author and associate at Synapse Energy Economics, told reporters in a teleconference.

Read more from this story HERE.

Report: Solar Firms Under Investigation for Stimulus Swindle

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The nation’s three most productive solar installation firms are under investigation for allegedly exaggerating business costs to get larger cash payments through a federal stimulus program.

The Treasury Department’s inspector general is asking SolarCity, SunRun and Sungevity to justify the more than $500 million in federal grants and tax credits they got for their work, according to The Washington Post.

The companies in question received payments through Treasury’s 1603 program, which was designed to increase renewable energy use.

The cash grant program pays installers up to 30 percent of the project cost. So by inflating business expenses, the firms would be eligible for a larger payout.

The firms might have to repay the government if found to have abused the program and could face other penalties.

Read more from this story HERE.

Energy Industry Concerned Obama Could Pursue End-Run on Climate Change Rules

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The United States has joined nearly 200 countries at a United Nations climate summit in Doha, Qatar, this week with the primary goal of coming together on a treaty aimed at preventing what activists are calling dangerous climate change.

Some point to superstorm Sandy as a primary example of the need to curb emissions that they believe are fundamentally disrupting the way Earth’s ecosystem works. They would like to have a treaty signed by 2015.

But many in the energy industry are concerned the Obama administration, fresh off a re-election win, will go too far with a radical environmental strategy that will have a negative impact on U.S. businesses and consumers – not just through the U.N., but executive edict.

“They brought hundreds of millions of dollars into his re-election campaign,” said Michael Whatley, vice president of the Consumer Energy Alliance. He believes the president delayed consideration of the Canada-to-Texas Keystone XL Pipeline because he couldn’t afford to lose allies in the environmental sector, and may now feel pressure to deliver to those groups. Indeed, on the night of his re-election, Obama vowed the U.S. would be a leader in combating a “warming planet.”

For years, both Democrats and Republicans have blocked cap-and-trade legislation on Capitol Hill which would set emissions limits and fees for those who exceed them. Now, a growing number of lawmakers are sounding an alarm about what they believe will be the Executive Branch’s “end run” around Congress.

Read more from this story HERE.

AAA Says Certain Ethanol Fuel Can Damage Cars, Asks EPA to Remove From Pumps

The recently approved use of E15 fuel made from blending gasoline and ethanol could damage vehicles and void warranties says the American Automobile Association (AAA), which is urging the federal government to ban it from the market.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the fuel earlier this summer, but AAA says only five percent of vehicles on the road are approved by the manufacturers to use the special blend they say causes significant problems such as accelerated engine wear and failure, fuel-system damage and false “check engine” warning lights.

The auto club conducted a recent survey it says identifies confusion among consumers as to which vehicles can use the fuel — 95 percent of those surveyed had never heard of E15, which contains 15 percent ethanol.

“It is clear that millions of Americans are unfamiliar with E15, which means there is a strong possibility that many motorists may improperly fill up using this gasoline and damage their vehicle,” said Robert Darbelnet, AAA president. “Bringing E15 to the market without adequate safeguards does not responsibly meet the needs of consumers.”

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), former chairman of the House Science Committee, said the findings confirm concerns on Capitol Hill that the fuel can damage cars.

Read more from this story HERE.

Sen. Vitter Alleges Obama Administration Hiding Internal Discussions on Carbon Tax

photo credit: miiler_centerSen. David Vitter (R-La.) accused the Obama administration on Tuesday of shielding possible discussions on a carbon tax from the public.

Vitter, a top Republican on the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works, sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner alleging the administration is hammering out details for a carbon tax proposal.

Vitter questioned Treasury’s denial of a Freedom of Information Act request from the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute think tank. The think tank sued Treasury last week for not releasing emails from the agency’s Office of Energy and Environment that contained the word “carbon.”

“A plan to tax carbon would inevitably be a tax on the public, so, by definition, every responsive record would on its face significantly inform the public,” Vitter wrote.

A Treasury official told The Hill that the agency had not received Vitter’s letter.

Read more from this story HERE.

$4 Gas: Get Used to It

President Obama may have a lot more to worry about than bombing the debate this week. Traders are starting to get particularly bullish over gasoline prices – and that is bad news for the average driver, who may also be looking to vent his spleen at the voting booth.

Reports of gas shortages along the high-demand west and east coasts may be fleeting – although deeply concerning – but they highlight a problem that’s expected to persist in the U.S.: our refineries are getting old. Given that a new refinery has not been built since 1976, commodities desks on Wall Street are bracing for more refinery outages and fires just as the nation needs to gear up for the busy winter heating season.

What does that mean? Probably more weeks where we’ll see U.S. crude oil inventories hovering above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year, yet gasoline inventories tunneling into the lower half of their average range, as the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported Wednesday.

Translated in dollars and cents, retail gas prices likely won’t be moving off the $4 needle anytime soon. In fact, some gasoline buyers think this may even usher in a run to $5 a gallon (especially out west where gas stations are shutting down because they cannot buy gas at price levels low enough to turn a profit).

The firmness in gasoline also is giving oil prices a boost, the knock-on effects of which cannot be understated.

GOP to Pass ‘No More Solyndras Act’ when Congress returns

House Republicans will pass a bill next week that suspends new loans for clean-energy companies under the Department of Energy program that loaned nearly $530 million Solyndra, the failed solar panel producer that Republicans have targeted as an example of government waste.

Under the “No More Solyndras Act,” H.R. 6213, any similar applications for government loans made in 2012 could not be accepted, and any applications submitted before 2012 could only be approved after a Treasury Department review of the proposed financial terms of the loan.

In addition, any loans approved would have to be reported in full detail within 60 days. Any violation of the bill would subject related officials to penalties, including a fine of at least $10,000 and up to $50,000.

The bill finds that the Obama administration pursued a “green jobs” agenda with the use of $90 billion in program funding in the 2009 stimulus bill, in addition to $47 billion in loan guarantees from various appropriations bills that can be used under the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

The stimulus bill also created a new loan program for commercial technology, and Solyndra was one of several companies that benefited from this new program. Solyndra and two other recipients of the same program have since declared bankruptcy.

Read more from this story HERE.

US: On the Verge of Earth-Shattering Change

Horizontal drilling and fracking have made oil shale and tar sands rich sources of oil and natural gas, so much so that the United States may prove to possess the largest store of fossil-fuel reserves in the world — in theory, with enough gas, oil and coal never to need any imported Middle Eastern energy again. “Peak oil” suddenly is an anachronism. Widespread American use of cheap natural gas will do more to clean the planet than thousands of Solyndras.

If the United States uses its resources, its present pathologies — massive budget and trade deficits, mounting debt, strategic vulnerability — will start to subside. These new breakthroughs in petroleum engineering are largely American phenomena, reminding us that there still is something exceptional in the American experience that periodically offers the world cutting-edge technologies and protocols — such as those pioneered by Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Starbucks and Wal-Mart.

In comparison, China is not only resource-poor but politically impoverished. For decades, we were told that Chinese totalitarianism, when mixed with laissez-faire capitalism, led to sparkling airports and bullet trains, while a litigious and indulgent America settled for a run-down Los Angeles airport and creaking Amtrak relics. But the truth is that LAX probably will look modern sooner than the Chinese will hold open elections amid a transparent society — given that free markets did not make China democratic, only more contradictory.

Even more surreal, tiny, oil-poor Israel, thanks to vast new offshore finds, has been reinvented as a potential energy giant in the Middle East. Petrodollars will change Israel as they did the Persian Gulf countries, but with one major difference. Unlike Dubai or Kuwait, Israel is democratic, economically diverse, socially stable and technologically sophisticated, suggesting that the sudden windfall will not warp Israel as it did traditional Arab autocracies, but will instead become a force multiplier of an already dynamic society. Will Europe still snub Israel when it has as much oil, gas and money as a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in the Persian Gulf?

Who would have thought that a few fracking innovators in Texas would change the world’s carbon footprint far more than did Nobel laureate Al Gore — while offering a way for the U.S. to be energy-independent? Or that Angela Merkel, not the European Union, would run Europe? Or that Arabs would be overthrowing Arabs as oil-rich Israel watched idly?

Read more from this story HERE.

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You want to save the US economy? Deliver American Energy to Americans

There is widespread consensus that America needs to become energy independent. America’s ever growing dependence on foreign energy puts her at ever-greater risk in a world that is increasingly unstable. Given the current political upheavals in the Middle East, this reality is slapping America in the face with increasing costs at the pump which, in turn, drive up costs of goods and services to consumers.

Making matters worse, Progressives are obsessed with forcing Americans into accepting their green energy fantasy. Three plus years of actions taken by the current administration and fellow Progressives show a willingness to achieve this end at any cost. Increasing limitations on auto emissions and mileage, crushing EPA regulations on energy providers, opposing development of domestic energy resources, enormous deficit spending on inefficient and noncompetitive solar, wind, tide and bio-fuel technologies all litter the landscape of the White House’s failed energy policy.

While such Progressive measures may theoretically promote development of green energies, they dictate a highly impatient, frantic pace that is further crippling an already fragile American economy. They force the issue at the worst possible time, in the middle of a recovery resistant recession that is quite possibly teetering on the brink of a full-blown depression.

America’s economic infrastructure is based on the use of petroleum, natural gas and coal, as well as limited nuclear power. Nearly every vehicle that is driven on American roads burns gasoline or diesel fuel. Public transportation relies on fossil fuels as well. Natural gas, heating oil and coal are used in furnaces to heat homes and places of business. Coal and nuclear power generate electricity, which powers countless devices; the uses of which are taken for granted every day. Coal, natural gas and petroleum products power American’s industrial complex, the base of the economic engine.

In short, America’s economy depends heavily on existing energy. The methods of providing and consuming energy are deeply ingrained into American business, industry, home life and recreation.

Expecting to change the methods of powering a society of over 300 million people overnight is impractical. Even if it were justified, transforming a hydrocarbon-based economy to something else would take an enormous amount of money and time, far more than most of the public realizes.

Granted, some movement to “renewable” energy sources is currently taking place, but what energy is powering the manufacturing, delivery, and installation of windmills, solar panels, turbines, generators and power grid modifications needed to provide “green” energy to the public? Is it the “green” energy that is still under development? Of course not. No, the energy used to move away from oil, gas, and coal will be those traditional fuels themselves.

Why does America continue to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on foreign energy while there is undeveloped energy in its own country? Why doesn’t America keep those billions of dollars at home, in its own cash starved economy?

At a time when millions of Americans are looking for work and its economy is starving for liquid capital, why doesn’t America take advantage of its own expansive wealth of natural resources? Why aren’t Americans drilling for oil and natural gas or digging for coal? Why aren’t people working building refineries and power plants? Why aren’t people delivering gas, coal and natural gas to consumers? How many peripheral jobs would be created in the process? For every new oil well, power plant, refinery, and mine there will be new roads, followed by restaurants, stores, housing, and other infrastructure. All generated by the only force capable of powering America’s economic recovery: the private sector.

In the interest of national security and job creation, America should put Americans back to work delivering American energy to Americans. This is the best way to become energy independent. Forcing “green energy” on America overnight will only lead to more economic destruction.


Michael Fell is a former MCA recording artist from the seminal punk rock era who toured America from coast to coast. Today, he’s a leading voice in the L.A. Tea Party movement, active since the February 2009 inception. Mr. Fell currently chairs the Westwood Tea Party, is a founding member of the L.A. Metro Tea Party Coalition, serves as the Vice Chairman of the Westside Republicans Club in L.A. CA, and is an elected Republican delegate to the L.A. 47th AD Central Committee. He’s been Campaign Manager for a primary winning Congressional candidate, as well as Santa Monica and L.A. City Council candidates. Mr. Fell is a contributing writer for,,,,, and, His opinions on today’s news events and political climate can be found on his blog:

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Video: Obama official testifies that the Green Energy loan subsidies have been “an enormous success”

An “enormous success”? What planet are these folks living on? Listen to this short video clip of an Obama official (David G. Frantz, Acting Executive Director of the Loan Program Office for the U.S. Department of Energy) testifying before a House subcommittee yesterday.



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