Comments about ‘My view: Green energy handouts hurt Utah’

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Published: Friday, Jan. 31 2014 12:00 a.m. MST

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Kalindra
Salt Lake City, Utah

"The American Energy Alliance (AEA) was founded in 2008 by Thomas Pyle, who previously lobbied on behalf of the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association and Koch Industries and who previously worked for Congressman Tom Delay (R-TX), when Delay served as Whip and before Delay, as House Majority Leader, stepped down from the U.S. House of Representatives under an ethical cloud.
"AEA states that its aim is to "create a climate that encourages the advancement of free market energy policies" and in particular ensure drilling for oil is allowed in the Artic National Wildlife refuge and in US coastal waters.
"On its website it lists the Institute for Energy Research (IER) as a "partner" organization and states that it is the "grassroots arm" of IER. AEA states that, by "communicating IER’s decades of scholarly research to the grassroots, AEA will empower citizens with facts so that people who believe in freedom can reclaim the moral high ground in the national public policy debateys in the energy and environmental arena.""

Baron Scarpia
Logan, UT

So this guy opposes incentives for new renewable energy businesses. Where's his outrage over the billions in government handouts to fossil fuels over the last century -- from the Obamacare needed for coal miners' black lung disease to government clean up efforts in the Mexican Gulf for BP's oil spill and West Virginia's coal chemical spill to our military operations in Iraq to protect oil and escort oil tankers from the Middle East?

What about government subsidies for water, gas and oil pipelines, powerlines, etc. to support fossil fuels? And Big Oil continues to rake in Big Profits ... talk about government picking "winners" for America's energy future...

I doubt if the writer has ever breathed Utah air -- thick and raw -- the way we breath (and get sick) by it. Even our governor says we're losing new business opportunities due to it turning off visitors/business leaders looking to set up shop in Utah when they see our polluted inversions.

So what's this guy's solution?

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

Since when did the Deseret News start publishing for free positioning statements for the Koch brothers? Good grief, the transparency in agenda is getting supper thin. And when the premise of the "article" is based on a 2009 Spanish research paper... you have to wonder just how desperate this group is getting.

The Koch brothers want to see nothing deviate any revenue from their holdings - understandably. But this has absolutely nothing to do with good or bad policy. The sham here is these pseudo 'grass roots" organizations they claim to be public policy organizations - when in reality they are just extensions of corporate policy groups pretending to be concerned citizens. This is pure economic interest by a couple of dubious business characters.

Koch Brothers has received far in excess "corporate welfare" in the form of subsidies and preferred tax treatment than will ever be spent on subsidizing emerging technologies.

watchman
Salt Lake City, UT

And Pyle didn't say anything about all the money and the sad effect on the market that the Ethanol fiasco has brought to us.

Thanks, Thomas, for reminding us of the many bad decisions we have allowed to have been made in the name of 'Green".

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I'll bet you $100 the left will attack the author's background, and not directly discuss what he said, the actual info about the failed projects (I'm sure there are huge successes too) or his message (instead of his background) or contradict what he said with facts instead of emotional rejection.

I think this is something worth looking at with an open mind (not saying the author had an open mind, but we should).

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The environmentalist dream of using our food supply to create Ethanol is also dubious. It currently takes more fuel to grow the crops needed to create a gallon of ethanol than it creates.

It's a shell game. You burn more than a gallon of gas cultivating the corn to generate a gallon of ethanol.

Same with electric cars. It seems clean, but you burn tons of coal to power an electric car (dirtier for the air than burning natural gas or unleaded).

We need to keep developing the technology of the future. But we gotta quit fooling ourselves by pretending we are already there and don't need more traditional forms of energy now.

And the government SHOULD be more careful with our money, and make sure if they give it to a Solyndra.. that they are actually making something, and not just paying the CEOs huge salaries and then laying everybody off and going bankrupt.

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

2 Bits....how do you respond to an essay far north 1000 words... in 200? How do you counter distortions.

For example, the number of "failed" companies that the US supported argument? To do a comprehensive response, you would need to look across administrations and across industries to create a baseline of what is normal. As an example, you can look at the number of automotive companies and their suppliers that did work for the government or research based on grants from the government - that have failed. The numbers there make Solendra look like lost pocket change found in the sofa.

Another example.... Halliburton "misplace" or could not account for up 18 Billion dollars paid to them under the sole source no-bid contract awarded them. 18 Billion. Again, makes all the other "controversies" look like pocket change.

Failed companies is all part of emerging markets. Railroads at one time were hugely government sponsored endeavors, and most ended up bankrupt. Not to much squealing about those. And yet those that survive do so largely on land that was granted them by the government.

Brer Rabbit
Spanish Fork, UT

I don't know if the writer of this article was biased or not. The problem I see is that the comments seem more biased because they make no effort to refute what he says, they only blindly attack his credibility. For example justifying tax credits and government subsidies by saying, the non-green energy producers get subsidies, is like trying to justify cheating on taxes by saying, everyone does it.

In my opinion all tax credits and subsidies should be discontinued for all energy producers, coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear, wind, solar, geothermal, etc., but then that would throw a lot of lobbyists out of a job. If there is a profit to be made private investors will put up the financial support. Private investors are not as likely as the government to be ripped off. If their investment fails, at least they were the ones that freely made the choice to invest. The taxpayers have no choice in how their taxes are spent.

watchman
Salt Lake City, UT

Brer Rabbit, you have hit on another faction in this 'corporate welfare' issue. Whether it is Haliburton or one of Obama's pet recipients, there should be strict accountability or no taxpayer's help at all. Our leaders have allowed this thing to get way out of hand like so many other issues in DC.

Blue
Salt Lake City, UT

2Bits: "I'll bet you $100 the left will attack the author's background..."

You don't think that it's relevant to observe that the author of a fluff piece critical of clean, renewable energy is authored by a guy whose parent organization is funded by the oil industry?

A demand for more accountability and transparency? Sure! Bring it! But may we also expect the same to apply to the massive taxpayer subsidies of the oil industry?

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

"Private investors are not as likely as the government to be ripped off. If their investment fails, at least they were the ones that freely made the choice to invest. The taxpayers have no choice in how their taxes are spent."

Your kidding right? Private investors like those the lost everything with Enron? Have we forgotten those already? Or how about the S&L collapse and bailout? What about Bank of America today agreeing to pay over 8.5 Billion to settle claims against business practices by the acquired Countrywide unit. How many times do we need to see stuff like this to disprove this "corporations do it better". Chevy, Chrysler, AIG, American Airlines, United Airlines, Tyco, Sears, even Apple when taken over by wall street types, have all suffered huge collapses.

"The taxpayers have no choice in how their taxes are spent."

False... every two years you do... when you enter the ballot box at the local, state and national level. The government has no powers other than those we the people expressly grant them. We may not all agree on priorities... but we are the origin of their power.

procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: "The American Energy Alliance (AEA) was founded in 2008 by Thomas Pyle, who previously lobbied on behalf of . . ."

Blah, blah, blah.

You can tell when a commentator strikes close to the truth by the vitriol with which disingenuous liberals counterattack, not the message, but the messenger.

Deprived of a reasoned counterargument by the truth and effectiveness of their enemies' assertions, liberals invariably resort to disingenuous ad hominem attacks on those delivering the truth, hoping that this transparent misdirection will distract the low-information crowd long enough for them to change the subject.

Sadly, way too often, it works.

It doesn't change the truth or reason of the argument, mind you, but, sadly, it can change the outcome of the debate.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Should we just automatically dismiss everything published in the Huffington Post (because it's just Ariana Huffington's opinion paper), or anything that comes out of the Center For American Progress (because it's owned by George Soros), or MSNBC (because it's owned by GE)?

If they have a point... they have a point.

It does no good to just put your head in the sand and say, "They're not one of us... they can't have a valid point of view".

I don't know this guy, but it seems like he has a good point.

And just blowing it off as "Pocket change", or "well somebody else did it first, or worse"... doesn't feed the bulldog.

Unless he's actually wrong (not just that his credentials show he's not one of you, so he can be automatically dismissed out of hand).

I agree knowing where he works is pertinent. But enough of the Koch Bros boggey-man tactics... that's just embarrassing.

Badgerbadger
Murray, UT

Abuse of green subsidies was made known to me in the 80's when I bought my first house. The usual crowd of salesmen tried to sell us all kinds of stuff, including a solar water heater that cost thousands, but a government subsidy would bring our cost down to just $1600. In Tuscon AZ I could have put a black hose on the roof ahead of the water heater and had the same effect for under $100.

Such a scam! And the government was paying for 2/3 of it. They didn't even give us the promised water heater blanket for listening to their pitch.

When they say green energy, what they really mean is the company is raking in the green!

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

My neighbor is a lobbyist for an energy company. He's not "evil". He's one of the best people I've ever met!

How is this possible?

How can he be a lobbyist in Washington... and not be an "evil" Koch Bros clone?

It IS possible you know.

Maybe... just maybe... this guy is OK too. I don't know!

But I wouldn't be quick to condemn him just because you know where he works.

That would be Judge-mental and closed-minded.

Now if you can prove that what he dared say is wrong or untrue... that's another story.

Grover
Salt Lake City, UT

Another great case of "how does one find the truth of any argument ?" Investigating the background of the person purporting to tell the truth is but one way of starting (no matter the subject or the slant). Finding the truth takes time and effort, but our bumper sticker cultural mentality never looks below the surface and is satisfied when the opinion expressed agrees or not with our personal political persuasion. The opinion of a PhD has the same weight as a school dropout...pathetic.

Redshirt1701
Deep Space 9, Ut

The ironic thing about the liberals here that are attacking the writer is the fact that they don't care that the green energy companies are getting massive subsidies from the Federal government.

They complain about the supposed subsidies that the fossil fuels and nuclear get, yet have no problem paying 10 times that amount per MWh to somebody who uses a windmill or solar panel.

Tell us liberals, if giving a dime to fossil fuels is so bad, why is it ok to give dollars to the mega corporations to produce green energy?

Lagomorph
Salt Lake City, UT

procuradorfiscal: "Deprived of a reasoned counterargument... liberals invariably resort to disingenuous ad hominem attacks..."
2 bits: "Should we just automatically dismiss everything published..."

Providing more information about the organization a writer represents is not in itself an ad hominem. Kalindra's post provides valuable context and tools for evaluating the author's motives. '2 bits' is correct, we should not automatically dismiss an opinion based on its source, but there is nothing wrong with full disclosure. Many organizations with an agenda hide behind neutral names (like the AEA). It is ultimately beneficial to the readers to know more about an editorialist's background.

Redshirt1701: "Tell us liberals, if giving a dime to fossil fuels is so bad, why is it ok to give dollars to the mega corporations to produce green energy?"

I'd be glad to eliminate all government energy subsidies and let energy production go on a total free market basis (not that I speak for all liberals by any means). But I would insist that the free market price structure include ALL costs associated with energy production and use. No externalized costs (which represent subsidies), a truly free market.

Res Novae
Ashburn, VA

If you think that it is disingenuous to point out the fact that the author is essentially a paid lobbyist for large corporate interests, I'd simply point out that the reverse complaints happen whenever a paid lobbyist for leftwing interests has a column in the....Oh wait. It's the DN. It'll never happen. Forget I said anything.

VST
Bountiful, UT

@2 bits,

Just a passing note. MSNBC is no longer owned by GE. It is now owned by Comcast.

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