The Green Energy Scam
by Rep Charlotte O'Hara
Several people have inquired about my plans following my unsuccessful bid for the 37th District Senate seat. The answer, I’m not certain. Definitely, I have learned many lessons, one of which is when you have a differing view (read Early Innovator Grant) from the governor, don’t be surprised at the level of his power and influence.
What I will greatly miss is having a voice (directly) in the conversation on developing policy in Topeka, but life goes on. I’m attempting to quiet myself to the point of being able to hear what the LORD has planned for my next adventure. At times, that is a difficult goal. Currently, research has kept me busy on the issue of green energy policy at the state and federal level. So far, here are the results.
Everyone agrees that a clean and healthy environment is vitally important, but how to quantify the problem and then, in turn, quantify our success? I decided to take a look at the Kyoto Climate Treaty (which the U.S. has not and hopefully will not ratify) 2010 report to see how the United States ranks. Since 1990 (the baseline year) the U.S. greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) when including land-use and forestry (LULUCF) have increased 5.6%. In Canada the increase was a whopping 29.8%, Australia 29.9% and Spain 28.3%! Naturally, China isn’t even included in the agreement, but that would be an interesting statistic!
With those statistics in hand it doesn’t appear that we’re (U.S.) doing such a bad job on environmental issues in comparison to the countries that have ratified the Kyoto agreement. Have you heard of any complaints about Canada, Australia or Spain (Spain spent billions on wind projects and, according to King Carlos University, 2.2 jobs in energy consuming industries are lost for each new wind energy job created) on their level of pollutants? No, it’s always the good ole’ U.S.A. that gets the bad press on environmental issues.
So what is pushing this green energy agenda, especially in Kansas? Bad public policy passed by the Kansas Legislature and signed into law in 2009 by Governor Mark Parkinson (Senate Sub for HB 2369), federal subsidies and just good old fashion greed.
Unfortunately all of our conservative friends in the legislature voted in favor of Senate Sub for House Bill 2369 during the 2009 session, which requires 20% of our electrical generating capacity come from alternative energy by 2020. They (conservative Republicans) believed if this passed the construction of Holcomb Plant would be allowed.
Well, so far, no coal plant.
Now, for the good part (rather horrifying part). According to the Kansas Policy Institute’s July 2012 report, “The Economic Impact of Kansas Renewable Portfolio Standards,” the 20% alternative energy requirement will increase our electric rates in Kansas by 45% when fully implemented in 2020. This not only hurts individuals with 45% higher electric rates, but this is a job killer. Industries with large energy requirements will simply leave Kansas or never come because of our high electrical rates.
Are you beginning to see the real economic incentive for alternative energy, especially wind? Green energy policy is directly taking “greenbacks” from your pocket and putting them into the pockets of alternative energy businesses, especially big wind. In my book this is a huge, unnecessary and economically devastating transfer of wealth.
This question begs to be asked. What are we consumers, both commercial/industrial and individuals, receiving for the extra cost? Nothing. Absolutely nothing has been or will be accomplished except the enrichment of certain well-positioned lobbyist groups and green energy business elites with our hard earned dollars.
The Kansas Policy Institute’s report did not include additional costs of Kansas and federal subsidies available to the alternative energy lobby. First, the wind energy Production Tax credit, which is 2.2 cents per kwh with an estimated cost of $3 billion in federal tax credit subsidies. This tax credit is scheduled to expire at the end of 2012. Congressman Pompeo supports allowing it to expire and is calling for the end of all subsidies to allow the market to work in the energy sector. Call Congressman Pompeo (Wichita number 316-262-8982) and support him in his effort to counter the alternative energy lobbyist and business groups.
Unfortunately, both Governor Brownback, 785-296-3232, and Senator Moran, Olathe number 913-393-0711, are proponents of the alternative energy scam and supports the extension of this corporate welfare/crony capitalism tax credit.
Now, add on Kansas’ subsidies and you have an even bigger gravy train, paid for by each of us through higher taxes, which includes: Alternative Fueling Station Tax Credit, Alternative-Fueled Motor Vehicle Tax Credit (that one has expired), Biodiesel Fuel Producer Incentive, Carbon Dioxide Capture/Sequestration Tax Deduction, Ethyl Alcohol Production Incentive, Kansas Retail Dealers Incentive Fund (currently not funded), Waste Heat Utilization System, Wind and Solar Bond Financing (paid for by state tax dollars) and finally all alternative energy production facilities are EXEMPT FOREVER (as long as they are used to produce alternative energy) from property taxes.
So, when you’re driving on I-70 and see the wind farms stretching far over the horizon, remember that those wind farms are paying ZERO in property taxes.
There is also the environmental issue of the wind generators being placed in migratory bird flight paths, especially here in Kansas. According to American Bird Conservatory, at a minimum, wind farms will kill 1 million birds per year by 2020 across the country and for what? Climate change has been debunked, the U.S. in comparison to countries such as Canada, Australia and Spain is nearly 6 times more in compliance with the Kyoto Climate treaty (again the U.S. has not ratified and hopefully will never ratify), Kansas is blessed with abundant natural gas reserves along with oil and coal, and alternative energy simply has failed to bring the efficiencies and jobs the headlines promised.
Why do we continue to weave strands into the rope of government regulations and control, state and federal, which strangles our economic freedom? With all of our natural gas reserves, it’s like a man dying of thirst next to a gushing artisan well. So, let’s unshackle “We the People” and demand the 2013
Legislature repeal Senate Sub for HB 2369, Kansas Renewable Portfolio Standards, and bring sanity back into our energy policies that will keep those “greenbacks” in your pocket.