Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Plains & Eastern, Federal Eminent Domain, & the Seizure of Our Means



“He’s the looter that justifies the seizure of my means.”  ---Ayn Rand  Atlas Shrugged

That sums up Michael Skelly and Clean Line Energy Partners llc, looters that justifies the seizure of our means.   Do is bother anyone else that the Plains & Eastern “partner” is the Department of Energy. 

Who commissions the project was necessary?   The Department of Energy.
Who authorizes the eminent domain for the project?  The Department of Energy.
Who can ratepayers appeal to if they believe the project is not needed?  The Department of Energy
Who can landowners appeal is they believe the company is not bargaining in good faith?  The Department of Energy.

Kinda seems like a conflict of interest with the Department of Energy acting as the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branch on this project.  It’s one thing for the Department of Energy to pick “winners” and “losers”  and make bad investments (like Soylandra), but with Plains & Eastern, the DoE has one job in this “partnership”, to acquire the easement with the eminent domain authority of the United States government. 

Do you wonder how the Southwestern Power Agency feels about being used by the Obama Administration to promote wind energy?  The SwPA’s job is to market hydroelectric electricity as a nonprofit.  The Southwestern Power Agency has nothing to do with wind energy.  They own no wind turbines.  They market no wind energy. 

It sure looks like the Obama Administration is pimping them out to the wind industry.  Call it what it is.  The Administration is taking the SwPA and selling them out to the wind industry like it’s the Administration’s prostitute to sell as it pleases.   Yes that sounds strong, but it is what it is.  How do you think customers of the SwPA or other Power Marketing Administrations feel about Section 1222 being used to wheel wind energy out of their markets? 

Here’s a somewhat interesting article about  Lauren Azar’s dismissal from the Department of Energy with an interesting quote.

“Azar focused on overhauling government-owned chunks of the power grid that outraged lawmakers, utility groups and four politically wired entities known as power marketing administrations, or PMAs.  Azar's time at DOE was marked by a big blowup over a memo that Chu sent last year to the PMAs, ordering them to leverage partnerships, rate-making power and financing to spur upgrades to their collective 33,700 miles of transmission and boost reliability and access for renewable energy sources.”

So how influential was Azar in pushing Plains & Eastern Clean Line under Section 1222 of the 2005 Energy Policy Act?  If she’s gone, who at the Department of Energy is driving the Administration’s “all of the above” (except everything but wind energy) political agenda?  Another quote from the Azar article places more light in the problem. 

Fingers pointed to Azar. The American Public Power Association blamed the Chu adviser for failing to collaborate with industry in her pursuit of a pro-renewable energy agenda.
"The perception was that had she collaborated and consulted with folks more at the outset in developing the agenda she wanted to pursue, and then worked with customers to prioritize and implement those things, that would have been much more effective," said Joe Nipper, the trade group's senior vice president of government affairs.

Huh.  Sound like the Southwestern Power Administration didn’t appreciate being hookered out by the Executive Branch.  The author of the Azar article did interview her and presented her side also. 

"I'm much more about where the rubber meets the road than high-level policy debates," Azar said.
She rejected the notion the controversial memo was all her doing or representative of a top-down approach. Both DOE and PMA officials, she said, helped implement the order. Chu asked the PMAs to take a leadership role, she added.
"Folks who were critical of the memo were pulling up very specific sentences or words ... which I understand if you didn't like the memo, that's exactly what you do to attack it," Azar said. "But if you do look at the overall thrust of the memo, it was quite simply, 'Let's ensure we have a robust, resilient, modern grid.'"
Others who fought strayed too close to the PMAs and faced similar problems.
Jimmy Glotfelty, founder of Clean Line Energy Partners and a former senior electricity adviser for President George W. Bush, said Azar should be remembered for trying to build infrastructure and integrate renewables in a thoughtful and cooperative manner.

And there lies the problem that rubs so many wrong.  Jimmy Glotfelty was pushing Section 1222 in 2003.  While he left the DoE before the 2005 bill was passed, he is now the sole benefactor of Section 1222’s eminent domain. 

The Wind Industry lobbyist (AWEA) also weighed in on Azar’s departure from the Department of Energy. 

"The DOE should always have a visible transmission advocate, and she served that role," said Rob Gramlich, the American Wind Energy Association's senior vice president of public policy.

But who is the advocate for the Ratepayer?   Who in the administration takes the contrarian view and asks is the public really needs to sacrifice for projects to make millions for the wind industry?   And why is the administration playing favorites for the wind industry?  Sorry, to the people who live on the 16,000 acres covered by the Plains and Eastern easement?  Sometimes hard decisions have to be made to promote “clean” energy.  Some people just have to sacrifice to promote the President’s “clean” agenda.  Besides, Arkansas and Oklahoma voted for Obama’s opponent in the last election. 

So if Energy Secretary Chu’s memo to exploit Section 1222 for the wind industry raised a ruckus, who was complaining?  It wasn’t the public.  We weren’t aware of it at the time. 

Unfortunately, it spells disaster when the government thinks they can create economic growth.  Swindling over 16,000 acres of land from hard working Americans and gifting it to Clean Line Energy Partners llc is not economic growth.  Some economists would call it a transfer of wealth, but it's looting.  It is looting with the Department of Energy attempting to justify the seizure of our means.  It's looting with the Obama Administration justifying limiting and destroying our farms and source of income.

Secretary Moniz, call off former Secretry Chu's dogs.   Nothing good can up from this land grab for the wind industry.  Look what happened in Nevada with the Bureau of Land Management and one cattle rancher.  No one wants a situation like that again over a politically charged powerline across the Midwest.  Plains & Eastern was Chu's folly.  I sure hope Sec Moniz is wise enough to drop the former Secretary's bad idea.


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