More Corporate Welfare For Polluters?

transmissionlineAs the Waxman-Markey climate bill continues to slowly crawl to an upcoming vote,  more and more debate emerges.  This time it’s Blue Dog Democrat Collin Peterson of Minnesota taking the reins for energy producers who already emit too many noxious emissions into our environment.  Congressman Peterson represents rural electric producers (mainly ones who burn coal and ethanol to produce electricity) and claims this bill leaves them behind.

Congressman Peterson is protecting the exact companies (i.e. coal and ethanol plants) that this bill is trying to force to make more cleaner and more efficient.  Of course he shouldn’t expect good favor from this bill (i.e. tons of money).  Yet, by some twisted logic, that’s exactly what he’s asking for.

Peterson wants electric producers who burn coal and ethanol (see how the San Juan Generating plant is holding up in NM with their emissions production) to get back 100% of the allowances they pay for excess emissions.

To me this is like taking away your kid’s allowance because he’s bad, then giving it right back to him because he needs the money to be good.

Seeing how the fine paid by San Juan (which is owned by PNM) was the largest in state history, it is mind boggling to think how much money would be given away via 100% allowances nationwide.

Secondly, Peterson argues that many of the low-income people in his Farm Belt region would be affected more than others in the nation.  While there may be a small increase in his constituents’ rates (mostly a result of electric generators in this area not being clean or efficient enough and thus they have to spend large amounts of money to get their plants in order) it will not add up to the thousands of dollars that these dirty energy representatives claim it will.

The Congressional Budget Office released a report last Friday that estimates that the total costs passed on to households from the Waxman-Markey bill will be a whopping $175 a year.  And, the report says, the low-income consumers that Peterson talks about won’t have their rates raised – instead, they’ll actually get back about $40 a year.

So once again, I have to ask the question:

Why are they really asking for 100% allowances back?  They obviously are not trying to protect consumers, since many electricity providers in the regions that Peterson is representing, including our own PNM, have already raised their rates this year.  So much for consumer protection.

Peterson also talks about protection for rural energy producers, but these producers live in the exact area where more efficient and cleaner renewable energy sources are all around.  The fact that they think they’re being left behind must have something to do with the fact that they aren’t using these great sources of cheap energy right in front of them.

What’s really going on is that these energy producers finally have to pay for something they should have been doing all along –  making their generating plants (most of which are coal-fired) efficient enough so that a ton of excess emissions are not produced.  But instead these companies have let their generating stations degrade to the point where plants like San Juan are getting record fines for something they could have avoided.

I for one don’t want to reward bad energy producers like bad parents do their bad kids.  Instead, we need to show some tough love right now. Because while they may need a small amount of help to get on the right track, surely they’ve known this time would come. And so far they’ve essentially done nothing but ask for as much money as they can back from us consumers.


3 Responses

  1. Clearly there is a huge discrepancy in your facts and the actual facts but we will leave that alone. If anyone thinks for a moment that the energy companies will just take their ball and go home so that you can cook your dinner using a solar cell they are mistaken. The capitalist that run these plants are not going to lose out on their profits, which they earn, but will pass that on to the consumer. Of course we will give more of the money to those that cannot afford it like every other entitlement program out there but really who, right now, can afford it. I can and I’m sure some progressive who earns a living begging for money and writing blogs while working for a non profit can. But what about that struggling family trying to get on their feet after getting layed off in this great recession we’re in. The science does not support the need for such taxes and neither do the people.

  2. Yup this blog was a big ol’ call for summertime solar panel cooking. I’d actually like to hear your facts instead of just saying mine are off, seeing that I’m quoting studies on this bill that are the most recent and based on the evolution of the bill.

    Coming from southern NM where oil, gas, and in my region now nuclear,run the industry; I am fully aware of how these capitalists continue to try and keep a stranglehold on economy there. That’s a big reason why they don’t deserve these allowances, because they’ve had the ability to make moves to make renewable energy affordable, but instead they eat up the profits and put them in big ass bonuses for themselves.

    I guess people in Germany and Japan can’t afford it either and haven’t been able to afford it for the past ten to fifteen years. But since I’m making millions begging for money, I’ll go ahead and just buy everyone in NM some solar panels to make it easy on all of us 🙂

  3. Actually the people of Japan and Germany can’t afford it. Spend a little time doing some reserch.

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