Letter: Time to end taxpayer funded green job madness

The The Editor:

Just when you thought big Government over-reach in Pennsylvania would end with the Republicans at the helm in Harrisburg…think again. Special interest pay-to-play politics is alive and well and still the rule of the day.

With unproven man-made global warming opinion science as its foundation and campaign cash laden environmental lobbyists roaming the halls of our Capitol, the tone-deaf Republican controlled General Assembly is moving forward with their version of a cap-and-trade like bill for Pennsylvania with House Bill 1580, the ” Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act” (HB.1580).

HB.1580 forces private utility companies like PECO to purchase Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SREC) to subsidize and artificially float the money-losing and expensive solar power industry. Our utility companies will be forced to ignore more efficient and cheaper energy sources and pass the cost of these SRECs on to you, the consumer.

Most disturbing to me is that this law doesn’t “sunset”, it mandates annual increases of required SRECs, and it will cause a corresponding loss of jobs in our State as companies and industry compensate for higher energy costs.

Its bad enough that the taxpayers have already funded hundreds-of-millions of dollars in cockamamie, unsightly, and money losing green job projects, now we will be forced to subsidize this part-time trickle energy source with higher energy bills and underwrite the failing solar power industry in perpetuity, leaving less money to buy groceries or pay for college.

Let your voice be heard. Please contact Representative Chris Ross (R-PA 158th) and the others sponsoring this Bill and ask them to scrap this misguided, economy crushing piece of legislation.

Ray Farrell
Pocopson, PA

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  1. Mike McGann says:

    Just to clear the record: Turk is mistaken. This publication gets no public subsidies. All of our funding comes from two sources: advertising revenue and venture capital (mine). This is a “bootstrap” entrepreneurial outfit. Obviously, I take whatever small business tax breaks are there, but compared with large corporations, they are few and they are small, as I would rather pay reporters than lawyers and accountants.
    And to clarify: we do not get legal advertising as our print competitors do, so quite literally, we do not benefit from taxpayer money. At all.
    On 1580: to me the biggest issue in support of the bill is closing Pennsylvania’s borders to energy credit — virtually every other state in the northeast requires energy credits to be bought in-state, keeping the benefit of their program in-state. Pennsylvania, on the other hand, doesn’t, depressing the value of the credits in-state, and frankly, making the program ineffective.

  2. Turk182 says:

    So, evidently, it’s okay to subsidize natural gas producers (the lack of a severance gas as used in such left-wing, socialist states as Texas amounts to a subsidy), but now allow the state to fund thousands of jobs from solar installers, gear manufacturers and the like? The seems to share the logic that it’s OK to fund the film industry, but not fix roads.
    Solar won’t come close to solving our energy needs, but at a cost of .50 a month (which, by the way, PECO is already charging you), it seems like a reasonable investment. Further investment is needed in other energy sources (although there is no such thing as “Clean coal” — factually, it’s more like “less dirty coal”).
    Frankly, this entire line of reasoning is both intellectually and historically bankrupt. Historically as the government subsidized virtually all of the shared infrastructure built in this country, canals, railways — George Washington wanted the government to fund a canal on the Potomic. Thousands of businesses depend on public subsidy, including this newspaper.
    Intellectually: I’ll take Ray’s argument seriously when he takes his kids out of public schools and stops driving on public roads. The taxes he pays doesn’t nearly cover the cost of his use and therefore, he is being subsidized.
    When we’ve reached the point that moderate to conservative Republicans like Ross and Schroder are being labelled as “liberals” something is really, really wrong. You are quite literally killing our party. Knock it off.
    When Obama gets reelected in the fall, and right now, I seriously doubt any other outcome, it will be your fault, with you people forcing our candidates to adopt increasingly ludicrous positions. We are becoming like the Democrats of the 1970s and you folks are creating a liberal Reagan in the White House and are too short-sighted and unread in your history to realize it.

    • Barbara Peirce says:

      Thank you for injecting some intelligence and logic into this argument. Whenever I read that someone is using their disbelief in climate change to argue that alternative cleaner energy sources are not needed, I read willful ignorance, and it is hard to take the rest of the argument seriously.

  3. Philip G. Duffy says:

    Ray Farrell is right. I questioned Chris Ross about this legislation at the Area 2 Candidate Interview Meeting of the Republican Committee of Chester County, the evening of January 19. There seems to be no argument that the original government program has failed, but the mentality in Harrisburg seems to be that because state government enticed Pennsylvania citizens to install uneconomical solar arrays through subsidies, and because suppliers of those arrays were thereby enticed to supply those arrays, that consumers of energy (that is all of us) should be penalized to continue the equivalent of a drug habit. In other words, send good money after bad.

    My question was not particularly provocative of Rep. Ross. I simply asked that now that the past legislative mistake has been acknowledged, to what extent would his legislation allow the free market to resolve the problem, and to what extent his legislation would attempt to solve the problem with further government intervention. Rep. Ross’s response was remarkable not just for its length, but for its lack of logic. I am sure all of the attendees at that meeting heard the same response I heard from Rep. Ross – that (1) his legislation would allow the market to essentially resolve the problem, but then (1) he went on at length to describe how government would continue to intervene and the expense would be assumed by energy consumers through a rate increase.

    Later I asked another state representative at the meeting to identify where this intervention was justified in the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He certainly was not able to do that to my satisfaction, but that opportunity is still open to any state representative planning to support this legislation.

    This raises the bigger question about the economic skills of the people we elect to represent us. There is little question that this group is biased toward an orientation to the law as a result of the legal training of many, which is a fine thing. However, we don’t expect them to to be economic wizards, and even if they were, we would hardly expect them to be more knowledgeable in the aggregate than Adam Smith’s “invisible hand of the market”. What is it about being elected to this state’s highest legislative office that makes individuals who are probably very average in their knowledge of economics believe that by taking that solemn oath of office they can play god with the economy? Shouldn’t they stick to the skills they know best and assure that any legislation they create or support is consistent with the constitutions they swear to uphold?

    Phil Duffy
    West Bradford Township

  4. TruthSeeker says:

    Our state representatives (interjecting themselves into the free market) by putting more than $180,000,000 of our hard earned tax dollars in grants and loans to the solar energy causing the industry to have an oversupply. So rather than let solar energy industry crash (which would happen in a free market) our legislators decided that they would solve the oversupply problem by forcing pennsylvanians to buy the solar energy through their electric companies. Granted electric rates will go up, but who will notice that the culprits behind the increase are not the electric company, that will be blamed, but our own legislators.
    Many of those supporting the bill are the same ones that criticize the Obama administration for Solyndra. Hypocrites!

  5. Sandie Conn says:

    Here we go again! Everyone please read HB1580. This is nothing more than a “bailout” for the solar industry. There is no benefit to the people paying for this loser, solar energy.

    Since the “science” has been dispelled, why are we continuing to pay for sham science? The deregulation last year, has already increased my bill by $100/month. On top of that, I have oil heat…now you know how high
    oil is, 100% more than 3 years ago.

    I thought the Legislature was supposed to support the welfare of the
    citizens, not pick their pockets to support an industry that will NEVER
    support itself. Do we all remember AMTRAK, that was temporary and
    we continue to PAY for it today.

    Contact these misguided legislators and let them know that you do not support this outrageous bill.

  6. ChescoPatriots says:

    Agreed Ray. Since the solar industry has been a bomb, now they want to come after the taxpayer and fund it. What is the difference between Solyndra and this? Fight HB 1580. I have no problem if people want to use solar panels, just don’t make me pay for them.

  7. Andrea Gosselin says:

    I agree with Mr. Farrell. Even though solar power has no fuel costs, there are fixed costs for building the installation, and those costs must be amortized over the expected energy production (in kilowatt-hours). Because solar power produces very small amounts of power, the cost per kilowatt-hour is very high. If HB 1580 forces utilities to pay more for the solar power than it would pay for its most expensive resource (marginal cost), then the ratepayers’ bills will go up, and Pennsylvanians will be subsidizing someone else’s business decision.

    HB 1580 appears to be a bill that will selectively promote one tiny slice of the energy industry. This is nothing more than corporate welfare, and it is wrong. The “free” market, if government leaves it alone, will find the most efficient ways of producing goods and services. This is not a bill based on concern for Pennsylvania citizens, but rather one based on serving a small number of businesses who took advantage of a previous government hand-out and are now wondering why their money has dried up. It is also a bill based on emotion: even though there is still no scientific basis, some people still believe that we must reduce our carbon dioxide emissions because it must be good for the environment.

    It is for these reasons that I am opposed to HB 1580: it has dubious benefit to the environment, it will raise costs unnecessarily, and it is preferential to a small group of businesses who were short-sighted enough to grow their industry on the back of government subsidy. If solar power is truly cost-effective, then the utilities will buy it. If it is too expensive, then don’t force ratepayers to support it.
    Andrea Gosselin, Pocopson

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