UPDATED 22:34 PM EDT, April 22, 2013 | MATTHEW DALY, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration has seized $21 million from troubled automaker Fisker Automotive Inc. just weeks after the company laid off three-fourths of its workers amid continuing financial and production problems.
Fisker had received $192 million in federal loans before a series of problems led U.S. officials to freeze the loan in 2011.
Years after promising to revive the coal industry with new carbon capture technologies, the Energy Department has spent less than half of the $1.5 billion it targeted for "clean coal" projects under President Barack Obama's stimulus program.
And much of the money it has spent went to existing carbon capture research instead of new projects intended to create new jobs under the Recovery Act, the department's internal watchdog reported Tuesday.
Hoping to allay industry and public concerns, the Environmental Protection Agency on Monday named an independent panel of 31 outside experts to review its highly-anticipated study on the health and environmental safety of hydraulic fracturing.
The study, due in 2014, is expected to address whether the fracking process that has unleashed America's natural gas boom impacts public health, the environment and the quality of drinking water, and officials said the outside panel's monitoring role will ensure the most reliable science is used.
The American Petroleum Institute on Wednesday released polling results showing strong public support for the Keystone XL pipeline, the same day environmental advocates began staging protests against the project.
Of respondents contacted by phone Feb. 5-10 by Harris Interactive, 69 percent said they supported construction of the pipeline, compared to 17 percent who opposed it.
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Interior is investigating whether mining companies are skirting royalty rules as they increase exports of coal to Asia, federal officials disclosed Friday.
No violations have yet been issued, but a newly released report to two U.S. senators says audits of overseas sales have just begun for years when coal export volumes from federal lands grew substantially.
Americans spent nearly 4 percent of their household budgets on gasoline in 2012, the highest percentage in three decades as persistently high pump prices cut into their checkbooks, the government acknowledged Monday.
The bad new for household budgets came as the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee proposed a sweeping new energy policy that would end American reliance on OPEC imports by 2020.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu is stepping down from the administration, completing a stormy tenure as the chief architect of President Barack Obama's green energy policies.
Chu's departure, widely expected for weeks, completes the exit of the president's first-term energy and environment policy team. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson have also announced their departures.
More than three years after the 2009 stimulus law was enacted, President Barack Obama's $500 million green jobs program is still falling far short of its goals, the Labor Department's inspector general concludes.
An audit found that as of last June 30, a total of more than 81,000 workers and unemployed job seekers had completed training under the program, at a cost of about $328 million. But auditors found that only 38 percent, some 30,857, had gotten new jobs or kept jobs with their employers.
Scores of Obama administration programs that committed $3.9 billion in taxpayer money to advance solar power and battery storage technology featured overlapping goals and potential recipients, but none were duplicative, the Government Accountability Office says.
House Science Chairman Ralph Hall, R-Texas, earlier this year called on GAO to find duplicate projects and spending after it reported that the administration funded nearly 700 renewable energy initiatives from 23 federal agencies in fiscal 2010. Hall wanted to know if taxpayers got the best bang for their bucks.
PITTSBURGH (AP) — It sounds like a free-market success story: a natural gas boom created by drilling company innovation, delivering a vast new source of cheap energy without the government subsidies that solar and wind power demand.
"The free market has worked its magic," the Barnett Shale Energy Education Council, an industry group, claimed over the summer.
The boom happened "away from the greedy grasp of Washington," the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank, wrote in an essay this year.