Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Fascists, I Tell You

The coal industry wants billions of your dollars to make you dependent on liquefied coal fuel – which is dirtier than gasoline.

Edmund L. Andrews (from the New York Times) has reported:

Among the proposed inducements winding through House and Senate committees: loan guarantees for six to 10 major coal-to-liquid plants, each likely to cost at least $3 billion; a tax credit of 51 cents for every gallon of coal-based fuel sold through 2020; automatic subsidies if oil prices drop below $40 a barrel; and permission for the Air Force to sign 25-year contracts for almost a billion gallons a year of coal-based jet fuel.” (before we even know if this coal liquification process will work)

Let's face it. The people behind the coal industry are acting like neo-fascists. They might prefer to be called capitalists, but they have no intentions whatsoever of competing in an open market, on a level playing field. They have schemed to get as much corporate welfare as they can get. That would make them at least socialists. But true socialists would want socialism for everyone. No. They want special treatment only for themselves – as much as they can get, and screw everyone else. That sounds like what fascists would do.

The coal industry has been willing to corrupt our political system for their own profit. That sounds like what fascists would do. The coal industry has underhandedly pushed unfair competition (with sustainable energy) for decades. That sounds like what fascists would do. The coal industry even seems willing to condemn scores of innocent people to death (from pollution and global warming) for their own short-term profits. To me, that sounds like a maniacal group of quasi-murderous fascists. They do not look like Nazis. In fact, they do all they can to appear otherwise. It seems they want us to believe that they have our best interests in mind – while they do everything they can to poison our future – with our own tax money.

Since 1950, the US coal industry has received $80 BILLION in subsidies, tax breaks, and other forms of favoritism and corporate welfare. EPA consultants estimate that 24,000 people a year die an average of 14 years prematurely in the U.S. from coal smog. Do the math. That's well over a million people in the U.S. who have breathed coal polluted air and died. The Nazis gassed their own citizens for selfish reasons – and for the claimed good of the country. Why should we see the coal industry as that much different?

At one time, Americans may have believed that polluted air was just the price of progress. But we now have safer, cleaner, and less environmentally catastrophic options; wind, geothermal, wave, tidal, and solar. Sure, they might be a little more expensive in the short run. But, if you are not willing to pay that difference now; not only will you effectively be a neo-fascist sympathizer... your reward will be that your costs will be far higher in the future. Do you really expect the price of liquid coal fuel to be cheap? They will charge what the market will bear. That's why the coal industry wants to do this. It seems they can't afford to do what is right. So instead, they want a piece of the oil companies' multi-billion dollar profits.

I have to ask myself sometimes; Why should doing the right thing be so hard to do?

  • We could blame this all on our economic system. Acquiring huge sums of money should never be so important that everyone endures less healthy lives. It should never be inherently too expensive to do what is right – because of our economic system. That's why we have governments; to set standards.

  • We could lay much of the blame on corporations; which have essentially become far too efficient machines at converting everything of any real value into money. That's also why we have governments; to set limits.

  • But ultimately, we have to blame those who run our system – and ourselves. We didn't ask to subsidize the coal industry. But enough of us can stop it.

Tell others.

Write your Senators and Congressmen.


Monday, May 21, 2007

Omissions, Oversights, and Lies

Here are a few things –

from the draft Environmental Impact Statement from LS Power / Dynegy / White Pine Energy Associates Limited Liability Corporation that you need to know:

Page 4-225 during the construction phase “it is estimated that about 10 workers of the unemployed work force ... would qualify for Station-related jobs ... it is estimated that an average of 40 jobs ... would be filled by local residents”

Page 4-240 notes “approximately 135 full and part time staff” Some of those 40 jobs will only be part time.

Page 4-240 “The tax revenue benefits generated by the Station would likely change the county's status from a guaranteed tax importer to a tax export county” This likely means that Clark County would not only avoid being polluted for energy it will consume, but will also get some of the tax revenue for it.

Page 4-234 “there would be an initial delay between the start of construction and when the (tax) revenue would become available to the County.” In other words, when we will need the money the most, during construction; there won't be any. This will likely mean a hike in our taxes. LS Power has offered to loan money to us, but only if they get a reduction in taxes later. In the long run, that would just mean we would be giving them a tax break – when tax revenue is the primary reason we're even considering this.

Page 4-225 states that “1200 workers” will be here “during peak construction” and

Page 4-237 estimates that “115 to 144 school age children” will reside here. That is approximately one child for every 10 workers. No way. This page also omits any financial help the county will get for education and schools during construction.

Page 4-235 shows no commitment to law enforcement help in McGill or Ely.

Page 4-236 shows no commitment to fire protection and ambulance in McGill or Ely – even though 300 to 1200 construction workers may be commuting from there.

Page 4-205 shows no commitment to helping with road maintenance.

Page 4-217 states “No people would be displaced as a result of implementing the Proposed Action (the coal-fired power plant)” I have spoke with a number of people who intend to move away if this plant is built. My next door neighbor already has his house up for sale. This coal-fired pollution generator will essentially stop the county's retirement community growth.

Table 4.6-8 lists 70 dangerous chemicals that will be emitted by this coal-fired power plant. Yet, the EIS devotes only two pages (pages 4-85 and 4-86) to the effects of air pollution – which only covers five pollutants.

Page 4-276 states “minimal air quality impacts would occur during Station construction” but very notably says nothing about air quality during operation.

Page 4-17 notes that the coal-fired power plant will be “15 miles from the Goshute Canyon Wilderness, 17 miles from the Bristlecone Wilderness, 12 miles from the Becky Peak Wilderness, and 13 miles from the High Schells Wilderness” and yet Page 4-172 states “the project is anticipated to have little or no effect on ... visitation rates” Bull---- Obviously, tourism will fall precipitously.

Page 4-282 (table 4.22-1) lists hazardous and solid wastes left by this coal-fired power plant to be both reversible and retrievable. Nonsense. How could they put the chemicals back? And just because they intend to cover them with a little dirt obviously doesn't make things as good as new.

Page 4-277 states “Some hazardous materials would be stored on the power plant site.”
This has got to be the understatement of the next 50 years! All of those toxic chemicals they intend to keep from emitting into the atmosphere will end up in a massive toxic waste “storage facility” for Nevada to keep... forever.

Page 4-175 states “the probability of an accidental release of a hazardous substance in the Northern Nevada Railway corridor ... would be expected to be low.” Maybe, but that omits the likelihood that the railway will be used to import other hazardous waste for permanent storage in White Pine County. If that happens, the probability of an accidental release increases substantially.

In Conclusion:

There is an obvious reason LS Power has created a Limited Liability Corporation to construct and operate this coal-fired power plant. They expect for us to someday sue them.

LS Power/Dynegy intend to take our public land and pollute it.

Sure, they'll pay for the property where the (100 foot tall, 200 acre) toxic waste storage facility and the (90 acre) toxic sludge evaporation pond will be – but likely so that they won't have to live by BLM rulings.

Of course, that's all they've ever claimed they would do – just what they were forced to by law – while taking as much wealth out of this County that they can.

In the past few years, we've heard reports of lobbyists writing the laws.

Can we trust that the EPA will have the authority to enforce our environmental laws?

We've heard stories of the gutting of the EPA. This looks pretty apparent, when we consider the fact that Limited Liability Corporations are still getting the go ahead to build coal-fired power plants – when we have safer, cleaner, and cheaper options (in the long run).


This video will show you just how corrupt our political system has become.