Ener1 Inc., which owns an electric car battery-maker that reaped a $118-million grant from the Obama administration, filed for bankruptcy protection Thursday. The New York-based company claimed defaults on its bond debt were spurred by rising competition from China and other countries. Ener1 listed $73.9 million in assets and $90.5 million in debt as of December 31 in Chapter 11 papers filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

As environmental groups hail President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline, billionaire and prominent Democratic donor Warren Buffett (left) is set to reap a handsome reward from the decision. Buffett’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC is a notable beneficiary — among other U.S. and Canadian railroads — of the move, as it is one of the railroads that will transport the Canadian oil if the pipeline isn’t approved.

House Republicans unleashed a barrage of criticism Wednesday during a House hearing on Chevrolet’s Volt electric car, after the head of the federal auto safety agency insisted that the vehicles are not dangerous. "The Chevrolet Volt is safe to drive and it has been safe to drive the whole time," David Strickland, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), told a congressional panel. "Not only would I drive it, I would [take] my wife, my mother and my baby sister along for the ride."

solar panelAnother taxpayer-funded solar-panel company, Willard & Kelsey Solar Group LLC, is undergoing operational issues, as it recently laid off about 40 people indefinitely due to delays in its production line. CEO and board chairman Michael Cicak would not comment on the timeline of the production changes or when the laid-off employees might return to their jobs.

Human rights activist Kerry Kennedy, ex-wife of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy, stands to rake in millions from her seemingly selfless defense of the oil-drilled rain forest in Ecuador. An Ecuadorean appeals court recently upheld a ruling that Chevron Corporation, the U.S. oil giant, should pay $18 billion in damages (which the company is now appealing) to plaintiffs who accused the company of inflicting environmental damage on the Amazon jungle — in what Kennedy called "the biggest corporate environmental disaster on the face of the Earth."