We use to hear about government subsidies for the people, but with the massive bailout just completed, I believe we the people are subsidizing the government more ways than we can imagine.
The bailout bill had some real goodies for the environment and green projects. The inclusion of the items was the price of support from many House members who were otherwise aghast at the $700 billion bar tab that must be picked up to save the global financial system from a 1930’s style meltdown.
In the blink of an eye, energy tax credit provisions that had been introduced and failed eight times during the 110th Congress passed without comment, almost without notice. A band of committed alternative energy supporters, and a host of lawmakers trying to prevent a complete financial crisis within 45 days of a national election, made the Wall Street bailout happen. What happened? Do you think the bailout bill was even read by the Congress? The alternative energy supporters were smart enough to pork in many items in the bailout bill, but when where these pork items added? I bet this bill had been prepared weeks before the so called financial crisis was dumped on the American public. Duped again and most of the money has been earmarked into pet projects.
I was against the bailout but my vote did not count. Check out previous CG Post: Don’t Be Duped, Government is Lying About Bailout.
Eight major green provisions were earmarked in HR 1424:`Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008′ – To provide authority for the Federal Government to purchase and insure certain types of troubled assets for the purposes of providing stability to and preventing disruption in the economy… (Enrolled as Agreed to or Passed by Both House and Senate)
The following provisions were earmarked in HR1424:
1. Cellulosic Biofuel Amendment. In previous legislation, the focus of cellulosic biofuels credits, incentives and subsidies has been cellulosic ethanol, shutting out companies such as Sustainable Power that produce bio-oil bio-cude, green diesel, or other non-ethanol fuels from biomass.
2. Biodiesel tax credit. The biodiesel credit was extended by one year, to expire 12/31/2010. This is a victory for biodiesel producers, who had been struggling all year to pass an extension.
3. Uniform treatment of diesel fuel produced from biomass. The legislation neutralized certain aspects of previous bills, removing a reference to “a thermal depolymerization process” and replacing the term “diesel fuel” with “liquid fuel”. In general, previous legislation has unintentionally created ‘winners and losers’ by prescribing specific technologies.
4. Aviation fuel. In cases where renewable diesel is being tested or used as a substitute for aviation fuel (kerosene), the tax language has been amended to treat kerosene as if it were diesel fuel, opening up more opportunities to develop renewable diesel substitutes for kerosene that will be covered under favorable tax legislation.
5. Splash and dash. The bill clarifies that credits do not apply to alcohol fuels and biodiesel produced outside of the US for use outside of the US. This eliminates the credit previously available to producers who broght B100 to the US, added 0.1 percent diesel, and shipped B99.9 to Europe while qualifying for a $0.999 tax credit
But the credit remains for exported biodiesel, which will not please regulators in Europe considering anti-dumping action against the US for permitting subsidized biodiesel exports. Folks, the tax credit has not been eliminated only shifted. The U.S. taxpayer will still be paying for the $8 million dollar tax credit on every tanker load exported overseas. Check out Chemically Green Post: Dirty Secret, U.S. Taxpayers Paying for…
6. Alternative Fuel Credit. The alternative fuel credit was extended from 9/30/2009 to 12/31/2009, and was extended to include compressed or liquified gas.
7. Plug in hybrids. The credit for plug in hybrids is set at $2500 per vehicle plus $417 per KWh the battery can store. The credit is capped at between $7500 and $15000 depending on the weight of the vehicle.
8. Carbon sequestration credit. A credit of $20 per metric ton is offered for CO2 sequestration in a secure geological storage, and $10 for using the CO2 for enhance oil or gas recover. The facility receiving the credit must capture at least 500,000 tons of CO2 per year.
Did other green project received some help? Other did not including algae biodiesel as Algae producers will struggle a bit with the carbon sequestration provision. Now, utilities can get credits for burying CO2, or for proving CO2 to the oil and gas industry for enhanced oil recovery, but receive no special treatment for linking up with algae producers. It will make a difficult development path a little more tough. There was less progress on feedstock neutrality. Cellulosic biomass was favored over other forms of waste and residues. For example, landfill waste-to-fuel processes will find less in this bill than cellulose-to-energy producers. (Source: Biofuels Digest)
I am all for our country reducing our oil addiction and using green alternative fuels and process to break our oil addiction. But these green projects were put in a bill that was signed to help the countries financial crisis created by Congress in the first place.
Pork and subsidies rule in the green environment but always remember who pays the final bill.