July 8, 2015
Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 3.24.49 AM

GOP Candidates Compete In For-Profit College Primary

As the 2012 GOP nomination contest neared the critical Iowa caucuses, Mitt Romney was asked by the Ames (Iowa) Tribune editorial board what he planned to do about higher education. Romney’s response (VIDEO) was crystal clear: He liked for-profit colleges, especially a Florida school called Full Sail University.  It turned out that Full Sail’s owners were among Romney’s top donors.

And that, it seemed, was the point: Although other GOP candidates that year, including Newt Gingrich, had personal and financial ties to the wealthy for-profit college industry, Romney, who denounced Obama Administration efforts to curb industry abuses, won that year’s for-profit …

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June 29, 2015
rivkin

Meet The Lawyers Who Pushed The Supreme Court to Block Toxic Power Plant Rules

In the last announced decision of its term, the U.S. Supreme Court today, by a 5-4 vote and an opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia, struck down the Environmental Protection Agency’s carefully-crafted rules to limit the emission of mercury and other toxic pollutants from oil and coal power plants.

Justice Scalia concluded that the EPA failed to meet its duty to consider the financial costs of the regulations. But as Justice Elana Kagan documented in her dissent for four justices, Scalia failed to acknowledge that the agency did in fact repeatedly consider costs, and he essentially substituted five Justices’ expertise …

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June 26, 2015
Duke Energy’s Gibson Station, located in Gibson County, Ind.
Duke Energy’s Gibson Station, located in Gibson County, Ind.

Are Utility Companies Changing Their Strategy To Fight Obama Power Plan?

In a letter sent to President Obama this week, Indiana Governor Mike Pence said that the State of Indiana “will not comply” with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan unless the plan is “demonstrably and significantly improved.”

Gov. Pence also stated that Indiana will “reserve the right to use any legal means available to block the rule from being implemented.” According to Utility Dive, Oklahoma is so far the only state to have outright stated that it will not comply with the EPA.

Indiana had joined Oklahoma and 12 other states, Peabody Energy, and the Utility Air Regulatory …

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June 10, 2015
arneduncan3

Arne Duncan Transcript: Some For-Profit Colleges have “the ethics of payday lending”

On Monday, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Under Secretary Ted Mitchell had a conference call for reporters to announce the Department’s plans to offer debt relief for students from the now-collapsed, predatory Corinthian Colleges. I offered some analysis that day about the announcement, but here’s the whole transcript. It contains some of the most emphatic statements ever from Duncan on the abuses of for-profit colleges — and the complicity of many Members of Congress. 

TRANSCRIPT

Press Call on Student Borrower Protections, Assistance

June 8, 2015

2 p.m. ET

Coordinator:          Welcome and thank you for standing by.

At this time, all participants will be on …

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June 10, 2015
Nick Akins

Edison Electric Institute Elects New Leaders But Policymakers Are Unlikely To See Innovative Ideas

Nick Akins, president and CEO of American Electric Power, was announced as the elected chairman of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) yesterday at the association’s annual meeting in New Orleans.  EEI is the national trade association representing investor-owned electric utility companies.

Joining Akins on EEI’s leadership team as vice chairmen will be these four industry executives: Tom Fanning of Southern Company; Chris Crane of Exelon Corporation; Pat Vincent-Collawn of PNM Resources; Greg Abel of Berkshire Hathaway Energy.

The investor-owned electric utility industry is faced with difficult questions of how to change its outdated business model because of “disruptive challenges” and …

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June 8, 2015
arneduncan

Unveiling Student Debt Relief, Duncan Hits For-Profit College Industry and Its Friends in Congress

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan just announced a debt relief package for students who attended schools run by now-bankrupt Corinthian Colleges. In doing so, Duncan sharply attacked for-profit colleges that have engaged in fraudulent acts, and he criticized members of Congress who have blocked reforms to hold the industry accountable.

Duncan said on a 2 pm ET Monday conference call, “You’d have to be made of stone not to feel for these students.”  He said that many of the students “ended up with huge debt, worthless degrees … if they got a degree at all.”

Using some of his toughest language to date regarding …Continue Reading »

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May 29, 2015
Donald Graham

Scholarship Started by Donald Graham Sends Donor Money To Graham’s For-Profit College

The New York Post today reports on an astounding fact that has been in plain sight for more than a year: Washington business scion Donald Graham has co-founded a scholarship program for young immigrants that is sending some of its students, and donor dollars, to colleges owned by Donald Graham’s own for-profit company.

When I read this fact in February 2014 in the Washington Post, the newspaper formerly owned by Graham’s company, I was taken aback. It seemed like a clear conflict of interest. But then, there have been many troubling actions by the for-profit college industry, including by Graham Holdings’ for-profit college …

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May 27, 2015
Big Brown Power Plant operated by Luminant, a subsidiary of Energy Future Holdings.

Electric Utility Industry Created Their Own Air Pollution Permits, Held Private Meetings With Texas Regulators

Emails obtained and released today by the Environmental Integrity Project show that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) worked behind closed doors with the state’s electric power trade association and utility companies to weaken standards for air pollution control permits.

The emails and documents reveal that Association of Electric Companies of Texas (AECT) and utility employees held private meetings with state regulators to discuss revisions to the permits and provided language that was incorporated verbatim by the regulations into the final text of the revised permits. The language ended up nullifying the federal Clean Air Act hourly limits on particulate pollution during the …

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