Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Clean Line Energy Partners, Private Socialism, and Crony Capitalism Federal Emninent Domain.

Don't know if anyone has noticed but Plains & Eastern Clean Line has a new imaginary friend with an astroturf arificial grassroots Facebook page.  It's something like "Arkansan's for Cheap Energy &Jobs".  Be careful
  Do not say an thing disparaging about Clean Line's propaganda or they will cause you of calling the company names, deleting your comments and blocking you you from making any further comments.  Some people were blocked from commenting for merely "liking" someone else's comments.  Maybe just the thought of referring to Clean Line's CEO Michael Skelly as Smelly Skelly is enough to get a hand slapped.  Names and classifications are acceptable when it fits Clean Line's marketing machine.

Jimmy Glotfelty has claimed to be a "Roosevelt Republican" , although FDR himself would probably call our pal, Jimmy, something less flattering and flirtatious but Clean Line's imaginary Facebook friends would call it name calling. 

Jimmy Glotfelty, vice president of Clean Line Energy Partners llc, has claimed to be a “Roosevelt Republican”.  This is an interesting comparison considering Franklin D.  Roosevelt would call him something less flattering.  FDR fought hard to pass the Public Utilities Holding Act (PUHCA).  President Roosevelt saw a sharp rise in the abuses of holding companies, or rather a company that owns a shell company that owns a shell company…. and so on and so on in the public utility sector.  

During the George W. Bush administration (some call it the Cheney Administration and there is some truth to that), Mr. Glotfelty was working at the Department of Labor.  At that time, he lobbied heavily for the recall of federal oversight of utility companies.  In February 2004 Jimmy testified before the Senate Energy Committee on the 2003 Blackout.  He proudly said the following during his testimony;

"I just got back from spending from spending two days in New York City meeting with investment bankers ... and time and time again we heard that repeal of PUHCA was necessary for more investment in the transmission sector."

Amazing how a blackout caused by poorly maintained tree trimming can create an opportunity for a bureaucrat to claim investment requirements for utilities need to be loosened.  After aggressively lobbying Congress to abolish the Public Utility Holding Company Act (PUHCA), four months later, Mr. Glotfelty abruptly resigned from his position at the Department of Energy.  He went to work for a consulting company in Houston, Texas.  Sometime later, he quietly moved three blocks down the street to Clean Line Energy Partners llc, the venture capital company that would not exist but for his lobbying effort to Congress. 

(It’s too bad the Cheney Energy Task Force notes were never made public.  Jimmy’s influence in those meetings would be interesting)

PUHCA was created during the Franklin Roosevelt administration to protect consumers from speculation capital companies like Clean Line Energy from manipulating the energy markets.  PUCHA was designed to shutdown shenanigans and regulate the energy industry to only permit businesses who were not interested in a quick dollar.   Without PUHCA, the SEC does not regulate and watch over speculation capital companies like Clean Line Energy Partners llc who work in multiple states.  Without this regulation, Rock Island Clean Line llc, which is owned by Rock Island Wind llc, which is owned by Clean Line Energy Partners llc, which is owned by Michael Zilhka, Clean Line Investments (Michael Skelly, Jimmy Glotfelty, and others), and Clean Line Investors, which is owned by ZAM Ventures, which is owned by ZBI Ventures, which is owned by Ziff Brothers Investments, which is owned by the actual Ziff brothers.   Then there is also investor Grid America Holdings llc which is owned by National Grid plc.   

The number of shell companies involved in the ownership of Rock Island, Grain Belt Express, and Plains & Eastern Clean Line llc is beyond belief, and none of these shell companies have yet to produce a product or create added value to the economy.  None of these companies own one mile of cable.  They do not own one electric pole.  How many employees does Grain Belt Express Clean Line actually have? Probably close to zero.  This is exactly the kind of company President Franklin Roosevelt called evil and a private socialist.  Today we call it crony capitalism.   Even Ken Lay of ENRON would be proud of the number of companies involved in this one simple project by Clean Line!

Grain Belt Express desires to be classified by the states as a “public utility” and obtain the power of eminent domain to take the property of individuals and give it a select few billionaires, National Grid (a British company) , the three Ziff brothers, plus the top of Clean Line’s management, with the ulitimate goal of selling the projects once the easements are obtained.  This is indeed what FDR referred to as private socialism.  President Roosevelt said it best in his letter to Congress calling for the regulation of public utility holding companies.

"I am against private socialism of concentrated private power as thoroughly as I am against governmental socialism.  The one is equally as dangerous as the other; and destruction of private socialism is utterly essential to avoid governmental socialism."

Because Grain Belt Express and Plains & Eastern are HVDC powerlines, there is only one start and one finish.  Between the start and finish, Clean Line Energy owns the market and there is no benefit for ratepayers surrounding it.

Clean Line Energy would likely say there is no relationship between Jayshree Desai petitioning Washington to take regulating powers away from Public Utility Boards, and Commerce Commissions and Jimmy Glotfelty successfully lobbying Congress to repeal PUHCA.  Clean Line Energy would also likely claim it is just a coincidence Jimmy Glotfelty’s career currently ends at a speculation capital company after he lobbied Congress to end PUHCA, yet the similarities CLEP has to the former Enron business model is more than a coincidence. 

And now Clean Line has Hans Detweiller in Washington lobbying for federal eminent domain with Senate Bill 1017.

The CLEP model is strictly short term profit oriented.  Avoid Regional Transmission Organizations' expansion planning.  Work outside the state utility regulators and avoid any regulatory oversight that gives them a problem.  Then gear up lobbying for federal eminent domain claiming current energy regulations  are a burden for utility companies when it is only Clean Line that has difficulty working within the system.

If a traditional energy producer wants to build a new transmission line, they must first prove a need for it.  Current state and federal regulations were built to protect consumers within the traditional cost allocation model.  Merchant Transmission Lines that trump RTO's did not exist in the past.  Our existing laws and regulations were both designed for this traditional utility company model, because it largely works by protecting consumers from risk and providing proper planning.

Clean Line Energy and its RICL project recognizes this opportunity to take advantage of deregulation and argues the current rules do not apply to them as a privately held speculation capital merchant transmission line.  Unfortunately, this opportunity for Clean Line Energy comes at the expense of the Midwest public and landowners.    

Is Jimmy Glotfelty a “Roosevelt Republican”?  No. 

He is a what Roosevelt called a Private Socialist that relies on crony capitalism with governmental favoritism.  America does not need eminent domain driven by political agendas and preferential treatment  to chosen "winners". 

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