Many Americans support the use of public funds to help companies produce clean, non-carbon sourced energy. But as so often happens when the federal government gets involved, waste, fraud, and abuse carry the day.
A case in point is California’s Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, one of the largest solar installations in the country. Multi-billion dollar corporations like GE, Google, Chevron, BP, and Morgan Stanley share ownership of Ivanpah. Together, these corporations control over a trillion dollars in capital. But these big corporations managed to soak taxpayers for a federal loan guarantee of $1.6 billion and a tax credit of over $500 million.
Perhaps even more egregious, the federal government allows Ivanpah to sell electricity at 4 times the market rate. These cost increases hurt the poor most, because they spend a much larger share of their limited resources on energy to heat & cool their homes, run their appliances, and meet transportation needs. Additionally, retailers, shippers, and manufacturers build their own utility costs into the price of basic essentials like foodstuffs, medicine, and clothing.
While candidates claim to champion the middle class, big energy companies have spent tens of millions of dollars on lobbying and campaign contributions to lawmakers of both parties to make sure the government has its finger on the scale for plants like Ivanpah. Consequently, other producers of energy are disadvantaged in the marketplace. Companies like Exelon, Alpha Natural Resources, and Peabody Energy are shuttering plants or filing for bankruptcy. That means thousands and thousands in Illinois and throughout the nation are losing, at a minimum, their health insurance, if not their livelihoods, while everyone spends a greater portion of their hard-earned wages on taxes and utilities.
So where’s the waste, fraud and abuse? Ivanpah’s lobbyists and lawyers have taken advantage of a federal loophole allowing the facility to produce nearly 30%, over five times the federal limit, of its energy from natural gas. That means taxpayers who think they are supporting green energy are being defrauded, the poor are being squeezed, and hardworking, middle-class laborers are being thrown out of work and losing their health insurance. All to line the pockets of big corporate interests.
Think it’s time for the federal government to stop favoring politically-connected corporations over working people? Sign the petition at COSaction.com. And use the buttons below to share on social media.
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