Chugging soon into your home town – “The Green Energy Subsidy Express” – be careful not to play on the tracks!

Via National Wind Watch – “State lowballed cost of green tax breaks

Seems over in Oregon they have a little squabble over subsidies for “green” energy.  The post suggests that “State officials deliberately underestimated the cost of Gov. Ted Kulongoski’s plan to lure green energy companies to Oregon with big taxpayer subsidies, resulting in a program that cost 40 times more than unsuspecting lawmakers were told, an investigation by The Oregonian shows.”

But, au contraire – “(Governor) Kulongoski staff members deny that the governor or anyone on his staff directed the Energy Department to lowball the costs and said the huge disparity between early cost projections and actual expenses was simply a bad guess.”

Bad guess or intentional misleading, the result’s the same – taxpayer money wasted on profiteers.

Here are a few interesting bullets from the article:

  • A wind energy project received four separate $10 million tax credits even though it will generate less electricity than projects getting one-tenth the $40 million subsidy.
  • A Clatskanie ethanol plant got $12 million in tax subsidies plus a $20 million state energy loan, then promptly went bankrupt and stopped operating. The plant, Cascade Grains, claims it’s still owed $10 million in tax credits, and it may sue to try to get them.
  • A Boardman tire recycling plant got $3.4 million even though, after more than two years, it has yet to recycle tires. Investors are suing founders of Reklaim Technologies, now known as McKinstry-Reklaim, alleging they were misled about the project’s solvency.
  • Thirty-five companies that had applied for smaller tax breaks under the old rules were granted the higher subsidies — essentially giving them windfalls that cost taxpayers $2.1 million.

So when your political leaders say they’ve got things under control, that they’ve negotiated firm agreements with wind developers or that they’ve “studied and studied and studied it. No matter what we do, we’re not going to make everybody happy. I don’t know what the answer is, but I do know that we need jobs and we need the taxes,” you might want to ask them to do just a little more homework.

By the way, what’s that whistle I hear coming across the Allegheny Mountains?

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