E2 Round-up: GM’s green motors, enviros eye SOTU, Bill Gates, and a pledge on mountaintop mining

The Treasury Department announced yesterday that GM will repay $6.7 billion in bailout funds to the U.S. by the end of June.

On Monday we wrote about enviros and industry looking to President Obama’s upcoming State of the Union speech for clues about his commitment – or lack thereof – to climate legislation in 2010. The Guardian is exploring the issue too, noting activist fears that the issue will get short shrift.

Billionaire philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is worried about something else. He fears that pledges of increased international funding for climate change efforts will sap money from foreign aid for tackling health problems, Reuters notes. But he’s also putting money into “clean energy” ventures, in CNET.

A group of six coal-state House members is worried about climate legislation and formed a new caucus to beat back efforts they say would hurt coal’s future, as we detailed Monday.

Battles over coal policy have been most intense in West Virginia, home of controversial mountaintop mining projects.

Gov. Joe Manchin (D) met Monday with environmental activists and afterward “promised to review citizen complaints about lax enforcement of strip-mining regulations and urged the coal industry and its critics to discuss their differences without resorting to violence and intimidation,” reports the Charleston Gazette.