The irony offered by fractivists who love to love criticize “big oil” and “corporate greed” is that biggest among are also the ultimate deal-making insiders.
In Cooperstown recently, I noticed a lawn sign that said “Stop the Pipeline.” The sign was about 20 miles off the Constitution Pipeline route. Cooperstown’s largest employer, Bassett Hospital, needs cheap energy to cut costs. Doesn’t matter. Ideology trumps all.
In Sidney, fewer signs these days, but a segment of the population shares the Cooperstown sentiment. For some folks it’s almost a religious fervor against anything that supports fracced gas.
Follow the Fervor of Fractivists
Follow that fervor up the funding food chain and you’ll find a powerful group of wealthy individuals. They fund a multilayered, professionally choreographed communications network of environmental organizations, academics, activists, newsletters, blogs and a daisy chain of self referenced media. Just read “Chain of Environmental Command: How a Club of Billionaires, Their Foundations, Control the Environmental Movement and EPA. US Senate, Minority Report, July 30, 2014” for an eye-opening outline of their game plan.
Their mission: discredit and destroy gas development. Cheap domestic natural gas is the competition.These crony capitalists are heavily invested in renewables which lose in the marketplace unless inoculated with massive government subsidies. In other words — your tax dollars.
Enter the ultimate insiders. The politically connected rich get loans, loan guarantees, and tax abatements. It doesn’t end there. They get guaranteed market share through government mandates and a rebated discount sticker price for their customers. Your tax dollars makes it all happen.
At an energy forum in Oneonta last month, a lady extolled her $23,000 solar system, for which she paid about $8,500. A good deal for the lady except that we, the taxpayers, paid the difference. These good deals, even bundled together, are small change compared to the mega-deals of the super-rich.
Google’s Eric Schmidt built Ivanpah, a $2.2 billion solar/thermal electric power plant in the Mojave Desert. It’s funded by a $1.6 billion federal loan which the principals plan to pay with . . . a federal grant. That’s not counting California subsidies. Elon Musk, fresh from squeezing Nevada for a $1.3 billion subsidy to build a battery factory, scored again in New York with a 3/4 billion handout for Musk’s SolarCity panel factory in Buffalo. Two deals in two months. Think Elon is having a good year?
Ultimate Insiders Play Games to Get Rich
Check the Billionaires Club’s portfolios and you’ll find lots more.
And yet . . .and yet . . . there’s that pesky gas. Lots of it in our own country. We produce more than Russia. It’s cheap, easy to move around, even lowers the CO2 levels where it’s used. Left to the market, gas rules. The billionaires know this. Therefore, gas must be destroyed.
Recently, with great fanfare, a new generation of Renewable Rockefellers swore off fossil fuels. They’ve thrown out the tankers, purged their carbon portfolios. With others, they‘ve announced $50 billion in assets pledged to anything but fossil fuels.
The ironies abound.
The Rockefeller Brothers Foundation, whose wealth was built on fossil fuels, have now joined the sanctified to atone for their family’s original sin. They support renewables. They retain, however, their grandfather’s DNA by actively attacking the competition, just as Old John D. did, building his Standard Oil monopoly by crushing the competition.
To this end, the Rockefeller Foundation funds multiple anti-gas organizations, among them the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Last summer in Morris, the NRDC offered the services of two Columbia Law School graduates and a community organizer to mount attacks on drilling at the town level. Ivy League lawyers don’t come cheap.
Another irony; the 600,000 dekatherms of gas scheduled to flow through the Constitution Pipeline from Pennsylvania to New York City will heat the homes and cook the food of those most opposed to gas drilling. It will lower NYC’s CO2 emissions, reduce its energy bills, and lower its asthma rates by replacing heating oil used today. No matter. The NYC Assemblymen continue to demand a moratorium for upstate New York.
A few of those dekatherms are destined for Sidney. No matter how much noise the antis make at Town Board meetings or how many lawn signs they manage to put up, the Leatherstocking distribution line off the Constitution will allow Amphenol to produce products and good middle class jobs for 1,000 of our neighbors. The 30% discount permits Amphenol to remain competitive in its global market. A similar premium will accrue to our schools, other factories, hospitals, and homes throughout the region. While we will be able to use Pennsylvania gas to power our upstate revival, we are denied the use of the gas from under our neighbors’ fields.
Local gas for local needs is true sustainability and self sufficiency. Maybe someday those who can make this happen will have the courage to do so.
Say what, Governor?
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