Sunday, September 23, 2012

March Of The Solyndra Clones

Just when you thought it was safe to turn your coal/oil/hydroelectric-fueled lights on, the government is at it again. While we were all fretting over Romney's 47% comments, Obama's favorability ratings, and murder and mayhem in the Middle East, the House slipped another one past us. The legislation had the support of Democrats, and Republicans who should have known better. Solyndra may be dead, but the green weenies aren't.

It's one of those classic examples of "it looked good on paper." To make the public feel good about action in the House, and probably to zap the administration, the authors gleefully nicknamed the legislation "The No More Solyndras Act." Sounds good, huh? Come January 1, 2013, there will no longer be a federal program to buoy up shaky and insolvent renewable/green energy schemes like Solyndra.

Small problem, there is still $34 billion dollars in approved green energy authorizations sitting at the Department of Energy, and any company which applied or will apply before January 1 will be eligible for the money. The parallels to Solyndra are downright frightening, especially since the Obama administration simply will not nix a project it considers “good for the environment” regardless of the likelihood of success and/or the actual environmental results.

The first and best example is an approved $2 billion application for a loan to build a uranium enrichment program. The company is United States Enrichment Company, which has already frittered away a previous $100 million loan (chump change by today's standards). Just like Solyndra, there are multiple indications that USEC is near insolvency, and has received a de-listing notice from the New York Stock Exchange.

Other questionable approvals include fifteen solar projects, at least ten wind projects, $8.3 billion for a nuclear reactor project in Georgia, $2 billion for a liquid coal project in Wyoming, and $1.7 billion for a coal gasification project in Indiana. In all, there are approximately fifty pre-approved projects waiting for the money to be distributed. Instead of concentrating on available fuel projects awaiting approval with no federal subsidies, the administration is approving applications for untried and unproven methods of producing “green energy/renewable energy” projects managed by companies of dubious fiscal reputation.

The simple rule here is that if there is money set aside, the government will spend it. Moreover, the Obama administration has proven it is very generous with the taxpayers money so long as the project fits the pie-in-the-sky green energy agenda, and the companies involved have been major contributors to Obama's election campaigns. At least some of the proposals include wording that favors private preferred management/investors over the taxpayers in the event of a company failure. Where have we heard that before?

If you remember, I've written before about Rep. Tom McClintock, my former Representative in Simi Valley/Ventura County who is now the Republican Representative in Congress from California's Fourth Congressional District (hundreds of miles north of Simi Valley). McClintock is one of the few remaining true movement conservative members of the California Republican Party. He attempted to warn his fellow Republicans about the new legislation, but his entreaties fell on deaf ears.

McClintock offered an amendment to the legislation which would have terminated the loan program entirely and immediately. He wasn't even allowed a debate on the amendment. Using his wry sense of humor in the face of defeat, McClintock entitled the final version of the legislation “The 50 More Solyndras and Then We'll Stop Wasting Your Money--Really--We Promise Act.”

What the Senate will do with the bill remains to be seen. But Harry (the Abominable No-Man) Reid may just be disposed to allow the legislation to go forward. After all, it would [foolishly] be a bill that appears to terminate silly green programs with little or no chance of success and make the Democrats look fiscally responsible. In addition, it would have the advantage of making the obstructionist Democrats in the Senate look like reasonable negotiators who are willing to pass a bill sent over from the Republican House. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose .

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