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The ‘Green’ Debate: President Obama Praises the EPA for Growing the Economy and GM Refuses to Admit the Volt Was a Flop

The ‘Green’ Debate: President Obama Praises the EPA for Growing the Economy and GM Refuses to Admit the Volt Was a Flop

"Thank you!  Thank you, EPA!"

Speaking before a throng of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) employees on Tuesday, President Barack Obama praised the agency for helping to grow the U.S. economy.

“The main reason I’m here is simple: I just want to say thank you. I want to say thank you to each and every one of you, because the EPA touches on the lives of every single American every single day,” the president said.

No argument here.

“Just a few weeks ago...Lisa [Jackson] and I was able to announce new common-sense standards to better protect the air we breathe,” the president said.

Considering that the EPA has been fining fuel refiners for not mixing a biofuel that "does not exist" with their products, critics wonder what these "common-sense standards" actually are.

“Safeguarding our environment is also about strengthening our economy,” President Obama said. “I do not buy the notion that we have to make a choice between having clean air and clean water and growing this economy in a robust way. I think that is a false debate.”

Many critics would agree with the president's last sentence. The debate isn't over whether Americans should choose clean air or economic growth. Rather, the debate has been over whether businesses should be free to innovate naturally and on their own terms, or whether the government should artificially manipulate market demand by subsidizing pet projects.

“When we put in place new common-sense rules to reduce air pollution, we create new jobs building and installing all sorts of pollution-control technology,” the president said. “When we clean up our nation’s waterways, we generate more tourists for our local communities. So what’s good for the environment can also be good for our economy.”

Critics would strongly disagree.

Based on numerous examples of failed “green energy” initiatives backed by the Obama administration and the EPA, these “common-sense standards” (and the business that have been set up around them) have done little for economic growth. In fact, many critics argue that while “green energy” projects are excellent at spending taxpayer’s money, they fail to create jobs.

Remember when the White House and Solyndra both promised that the taxpayer “investment” of $535,000,000 would create 4,000 new jobs? In fact, only 585 jobs were created, according to ABC News. Then 585 jobs became zero jobs when the company filed for bankruptcy. That’s just one example of a failed EPA-friendly, government-funded entity. Consider the following:

  • Range Fuels: Bankrupt. Accepted $64 million from U.S. taxpayers and another $6.2 million from Georgia taxpayers.
  • Mountain Plaza Inc.: Bankrupt. Accepted $424,000 in stimulus funds.
  • Solyndra: $535,000,000 in government loans -- bankrupt.
  • Evergreen Solar: Bankrupt. Accepted money all over the place: $125 million in stimulus funds for weatherization projects, $55 million in Massachusetts energy block grants, $5.3 million in federal stimulus cash, $984,400 in federal funds, and $758,388 in federal low-interest “Clean Renewable Energy Bonds.”

It would appear that EPA regulations, and businesses based on EPA-friendly "green" initiatives, have failed to provide jobs to the private sector.

And although these regulations have created the need for more government jobs, it should be pointed out that public sector growth is very different from private sector growth. When the EPA pays out millions of dollars to its employees, where do those funds come from?

“Our environment is safer because of you,” the president beamed. “Our country is stronger because of you. Our future is brighter because of you. And I want you to know that you’ve got a President who is grateful for your work and will stand with you every inch of the way as you carry out your mission to make sure that we’ve got a cleaner world.”

Remarks like this have led some political pundits to suggest that the president is willfully engaged in the denial of reality.

If this is the case, he's not alone. Take, for example, General Motors.

“Last year wasn’t a great one for General Motors’ first production plug-in range-extended electric car,” writes Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield. Naturally, she's writing about the Chevy Volt.

Now, most industry experts would agree that the Volt has been largely a flop. However, GM’s Vice Chairman Steve Girsky thinks it’s too early to tell.

“I think it’ll be May or June before we know whether this thing really has legs,” he said. “We are prepared for if it does.”

GM executives are unsure whether the Volt flopped?

Sales for the vehicle have been consistently low. For example, only 125 models were sold in July 2011. Keep in mind, this was after GM spokeswoman Michelle Bunker was quoted as saying that the Volt was “virtually sold out” due to its popularity — a statement later shown to be “misguided.”

This begs the question: how does GM define "flop"?

"Maybe we should give it a few more years before we know whether this thing really has legs..."

Perhaps the Volt has sold poorly because of its exploding batteries or because Americans aren't interested in buying a car that suffers from poor range and long charge times.

Instead of addressing these issues and retooling their approach to the Electric Vehicle market, GM executives have resorted to blaming the dealerships.

“I don’t think the dealers are really pushing this car yet, as most of them only have one or two,” Girsky said.

Do Americans want clean water and air? Of course. Would Americans prefer to have better fuel efficiency? Yes. Would Americans like to see the economy get back on its feet? Absolutely.

Is expanding the public sector -- while throwing taxpayer's dollars at multiple failed "green" businesses -- the best way to achieve these goals? Considering how it's worked out so far, the answer is probably "no."

Watch President Obama address the EPA via the White House website:

(h/t Weasel Zippers)

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