Tag Archives: Department of Energy

House Questions Use of Secret Email Accounts by Obama Administration

Yesterday, the House of Representatives Science, Space and Technology Committee released a statement in which they announced their investigation into EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s use of an email alias and questionable tactics by other Administration departments to prevent disclosure under Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

Recent reports claimed that EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson used an alias email address under the name “Richard Windsor” to conduct official Government business.  This reported incident follows similarly secretive and highly questionable methods of communication by senior officials at science agencies within the White House, Department of Commerce (DOC), and Department of Energy (DOE).

Conducting official government business using private accounts is in direct contradiction to Federal law. The only purpose such actions could have is to prevent the tracking and archiving of email traffic that the administration does not want citizens or the press to uncover when they issue requests for email relating to topics.

Members of the committee sent a letter to Ms. Jackson as well as letters to the Inspectors General of the EPA, Department of Commerce, and the Department of Energy asking for information and reviews of how each agency is complying with the federal law. Specifically the letter to Jackson asks for documents detailing the use of alias accounts.

DOE Loans Loaded with Red Tape

DOE...New Venture Capitalists?

Economist Milton Friedman once told an insightful anecdote concerning his trip to an Asian country in the 1960s.  He was shown a canal project and was shocked to see the lack of heavy moving equipment, which would have made removing earth, rocks, tress etc. much easier.  When he inquired about this, the government official accompanying him told him that this was a “jobs program,” to which Milton replied “Oh, I thought you were trying to build a canal. If it’s jobs you want, then you should give these workers spoons, not shovels.”  Government spending does not create jobs or spur economic growth, as this anemic recovery has brutally shown.

With the revelation that 80% of all DOE loans went to Obama donors, we should all be crying foul at the shameless display of crony capitalism. However, given news documents obtained by the Independence Institute, it also full of red tape.  So Obama helps out his buddy bundlers with some loans that are so burdensome it causes the companies to collapse.  I don’t know if this pure ineptitude or political astro turfing to show like he’s doing something about clean energy.  Either way, it’s bad politics.

Rob Douglas wrote on Watchdog.org on June 4th concerning one company, Colorado-based Abound Solar, detailing the regulations they had to abide by, including:

  • The Recovery Act;
  • The Davis-Bacon ActOffice of Management and Budget regulations;
  • Environmental laws (including those involving “air emissions, discharges to surface water or ground water, noise emissions, solid or liquid waste disposal, the use, generation, storage, transportation or disposal of toxic or Hazardous Substances or wastes, or other environmental health or safety matters”);
  • The Investment Company Act;
  • The Employee Retirement Income Security Act
  • Buy American regulations;
  • Lobbying laws;
  • Foreign asset control laws;
  • Prohibited person laws;
  • Prohibited jurisdiction laws;
  • Corrupt practices laws;
  • The Anti-Terrorism Order.

Scratch the surface of any one of the above categories and you find requirements like this one, in the OMB compliance section:

“OMB shall have certified in writing (in form and substance satisfactory to DOE) that the DOE Credit Facility Documents and the Project comply with the provisions of the Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009, P.L. No. 111-8, Division C, Title III, as amended by Section 408 of the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2009, P.L. No. 111-32.”

Keep in mind that’s just one provision in more than 100 pages of detailed requirements that span the breadth and depth of federal laws and regulations. And in case the loan guarantee agreement by the DOE is not suffocating enough, the following legal, financial and regulatory blanket — as revealed in the Abound Solar documents — is placed atop the specific, enumerated rules and regulations loan-guarantee recipients are required to obey:

The Abound Solar loan-guarantee documents suggest that a newborn company, which lays down with the DOE, runs the risk of being smothered by the federal leviathan before ever bringing a product to market.

Wow…talk about government efficiency.

Congress Smashes Light Bulb Law .. For Now

Americans of all political bents have been stockpiling traditional, incandescent  light bulbs ahead of the planned enforcement of the so-called Light Bulb Law which was signed by former President Bush. It now appears they have more time before having CFLs shoved down their throats.

In an attempt to pull government from yet another facet of American life, GOP lawmakers reached a deal and were able to include a postponement of the law in the Omnibus spending bill. The spending bill that will fund the government through the end of September of 2012 passed the House last Friday.

Republicans removed any funding for the enforcement of the Light Bulb Law. Without finding, the Energy Department will have no way to make sure that Americans no longer use the wildly popular and very inexpensive bulbs to which they have become accustomed.

The funding cut will have no effect on those that choose Compact Flourescent Lightbulbs (CFLs) or LED lights which require less electricity to run, but are hugely more expensive to purchase. 6 100-watt equivalent CFLs cost about $20.00 – more than $3 per bulb – while the standard 100 watt incandescent bulbs can be purchased for less than $0.80  per bulb.

The CFLs at the the $3.25/bulb end of the spectrum also contain mercury – a serious toxin that makes bulb breakage a HAZMAT event.

The standards that were due to go into effect on January 1st only applied to 100 watt bulbs. 75-watt bulbs would have been regulated out-of-existence in 2013 and all other incandescents in 2014.

To fully reverse the light bulb mandates, the 2007 law will need to be repealed. Something Republicans in the House and Senate were looking to do in March of this year. As it stands, the 100-watt provisions would now go into effect in October of 2012 with the 75-watt provisions following close behind. This could be another regulation that will be killed or strengthened at the ballot box in 2012.

Jim Presswood, policy director for the environmentalist group Natural Resources Defence Council, called the move by Republicans “dim-witted” and “completely ridiculous”.

The chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Rep. Fred Upton said that they had “heard the message loud and clear. Americans don’t want government standards determining how they light their homes”

Obama's Failed "Green Energy" Policy

Energy Policy

How much more proof does President Obama need that his “green jihad” is a failure? The greatest problem is that it has failed on two fronts. First, he and his administration have subsidized and/or granted loan guarantees to green energy projects regardless of feasibility. Second, he has all but shut down fossil energy production and exploration.

Green Energy

Through its Department of Energy (DOE) loan guarantee program, it has backed loans for “green energy” projects for $35.9 billion of taxpayer dollars. Obama’s DOE has a less than stellar record so far. And much of the “stimulus” money earmarked for green energy projects went to companies outside the U.S.

So the question is, “Why does Obama continue, through the DOE, to hand out loan guarantees?” Well, as DJ Redman, in his article about the Federal Financing Bank (FFB), says, “…politicians are stuffing their campaign coffers, crony-capitalists, union bed-pals, friends, and relatives wallets, through mafia-style influence peddling.” And from this source (also provided by DJ Redman), we find that the FFB is giving out billions of dollars in loans to White House pet projects often at interest rates below 1%. So green energy projects are nothing more than for recipients to have money to contribute to favorite politicians. From this source, we find that the Obama administration was motivated by politics in its decisions on green energy loans, and that many of the loan recipients were donors or bundlers for Obama and Democrats. Peter Schweizer, author of the book, Throw Them All Out, wrote that at least 10 members of Obama’s finance committee and more than a dozen of his campaign bundlers took money from administration loan programs. Schweizer said that he believes that many of those who were chosen to receive loan guarantees, were picked almost solely for their success in raising money for the Obama campaign. There can be little doubt that DJ Redman is correct.

Fossil Energy

Two recent incidences characterize Obama’s fossil energy policy: the Keystone XL Pipeline (non)decision and the canceling of a major mineral lease in the Wayne (Ohio) National Forest (WNF).

This source provides information about the Keystone XL Pipeline, and this source provides information about Obama “passing the buck” on the pipeline decision. Ultimately the oil will be sold to China, who is investing heavily in the Canada oil production industry. The green energy environmentalists care nothing for inexpensive American energy, American jobs, or American national security.

President Obama’s Department of Agriculture (DOA) has delayed shale gas drilling in Ohio for up to six months by cancelling a 2006 mineral lease auction for WNF. The cancellation was taken in deference to environmentalists on the pretext of studying the effects of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The WNF study, the DOA says, “will focus solely on how it could affect forest land and not how it could affect groundwater.”

Obama made this decision in spite of the fact that it will delay 200,000 jobs, and that WNF already has about 1,300 oil and natural gas wells. One suspects that Obama took this action out of anger at Ohio. This cancellation comes just days after Ohio citizens voted to reject key provisions of Obamacare.

Foreign Policy

His foreign policy closely follows his energy policy. It can be described in one sentence: punish your friends (Canada, Israel, Poland, Mexico, etc.) and reward your enemies (Russia, Iran, Venezuela, etc.). And he particularly “has it in” for Canada, starting (in 2009) a trade war.

But that’s just my opinion.