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Snellius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 10:53 AM
Original message
The Great Energy Scam
You would think that a modern industrial process that creates $1 billion a year in profits would make its creators and operators proud. You'd think they would be doubly pleased with themselves for doing it under the banner of reducing America's dependence on foreign energy. In fact, you'd think they would want their names in the paper and awards on their wall. But in the case of a strange kind of American alchemy involving coal, don't expect to be welcome on a plant tour. The reason isn't that secrecy is necessary to protect a technological marvel but just the opposite. What you would see behind the curtain is a scheme that would make the Wizard of Oz envious. And you wouldn't be amused, because as an American taxpayer, you're paying for it.

About a mile off the twisting, two-lane road to the south of Central City, Pa., set back in the woods along a private road, past the truck scales and the raw-coal stockpile, invisible from the highway, is the Shade Creek processing plant of PBS Coals Inc. There freshly mined coal is washed, the sulfur, rock, ash and other impurities removed and the cleaned coal carried by an overhead conveyor belt across the dusty road. It goes into a building on the other side that is operated by a second company, Central City Synfuels. Another belt comes out of that buildingoff limits to the publiccarrying what looks a lot like the same coal back across the road and dumps it on a stockpile. Then it's loaded into railcars and shipped to electric utilities.

Except it isn't coal any longer.

Forget that it looks like coal. And will burn like coal. It's now called "synthetic fuel." As such, the coal-like product, along with roughly 50 million tons of similar stuff from more than 50 similar plants in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Alabama and other states, is worth more than $1 billion a year in federal income-tax credits, a corporate giveaway protected by a bipartisan group of supporters in Congress. Those who have profited from the system range from fast-buck artists to giant corporations. They include one of the nation's largest hotel operators, a commodities trader barred from the industry for fraudulent practices, a chain of electronics stores, an electric utility that unplugged the lights during the great blackout of 2003, technology firms run by friends of influential lawmakers, limited partnerships of wealthy investors and scores of individuals and businesses preferring to keep their identities secret.

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,110103...
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stickdog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 10:59 AM
Response to Original message
1. This scam comes courtesy of our synthetic leaders. (NT)
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jus_the_facts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 11:34 AM
Response to Original message
2. Oh well.....the ONLY way to STOP this kind of thing is for us to..........
Edited on Tue Oct-07-03 11:42 AM by jus_the_facts
.....have these people and ALL their ilk...is to have them ARESSTED AND TRIED...CONVICTED.....THEN HUNG FOR TREASON...TREASON AGAINST LIFE ITSELF..IT'S THE ONLY WAY THIS WILL EVER STOP.....but we've known all this for decades and NOBODY WILL DO A FUCKIN' THING ABOUT IT....only a bunch of hot air gets blown around about how terrible it is while these deamons continue to rape and pilage....and get much richer while destroying the future of our existance on this planet....we are COMPLICIT IN THIS AS WE CONTINUE TO ALLOW IT.....SITTING BACK AND JUST TALKING ABOUT IT INSTEAD OF DOING WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE!!! :evilfrown:


I hate to have to say it...over and over and over.....but these people need to be made example of...in the worst way possible.....for WE ARE DOOMED unless they are eradicated permenantly....then WE ALL will be eradicated....PERMANENTLY.... :nuke:
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jus_the_facts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 12:07 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. KICK
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 12:40 PM
Response to Original message
4. I don't trust this story
Oil gets huge tax incentives too, it's nothing new.

And the article further says:

"The original goal wasn't folly, as demonstrated across the border in Canada, where the government and industry persevered with synfuel development and built a thriving business that today sells millions of barrels of synthetic crude oil to the U.S. annually (see following story)."

Here's a plant in North Dakota that does this exact thing.
http://www.lignite-energy-council.org/ess/dgc.html

There's also tax credits for wind farms that Republicans have tried to get rid of. Again, ignoring the fact that oil, nuclear and other energy producers have always gotten huge tax incentives and other federal benefits.

So while there may be problems with this particular procedure, it might be better to change the law to support the real coal/synfuel intents than throw it out altogether.


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reprobate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 01:09 PM
Response to Original message
5. Don't worry too much. Karma's a bitch and it'll get them all.

It won't be long until the atlantic conveyor current stops circulating the warm and cold waters of the atlantic ocean, and that will bring on a new ice age.

It will be hard to tell the frozen corpse of a rich white man from the frozen corpse of anyone else.

Another couple of decades. Maybe. Or less.
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this_side_up Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 03:07 PM
Response to Original message
6.  In one of his speeches, *
said that he would authorize 20 million for developing
alternative energy sources. (I don't remember what year
this was, but it was after Sept 11th)

How/where would I check to see if this money really
has been allocated and which company(s) got it?

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punpirate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 03:38 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. $20 million is chickenfeed...
... and is a small part of what Bush recommended _removing_ from the alternative/renewables budget when he first came into office. The first Bush budget halved the money for that research, and any increases are at that level, not for what it has been.

Reagan, btw, did exactly the same thing his first couple of years in office. The Carter administration had increased the budget for research and tax credits after the oil shocks and the Reagan budgets reduced the monies for research.

Money for development is also tricky, because it itself can be a subsidy for wealthy corporations which can afford to do their own development. For example, Enron had been buying up smaller companies which built wind farm equipment or constructed wind farms. That business unit has recently been bought by GE. Does it make sense to now give GE a significant portion of that government development money for something they bought?

Cheers.
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