Monday, July 13, 2009

Et tu, Tom?

As you can tell from the post below I am not a fan of "cap-and-trade." Yet however weak it may be for cleaning up carbon pollution, and strong for lining the pockets of the Wall Streets assholes who fuck up this "free market economy" on a regular basis and get away with it, it may be better than doing nothing.

Well don't tell that to our good U.S. Senator Tom Harkin, liberal hypocrite when it comes to environmental issues. Here's what the late-Paul Wellstone's bestest buddy said of the "cap-and-trade" bill crawling out of the U.S. House:"The fact is the House bill, I think, does disproportionately hurt some of our Midwestern states, and we're going to have to get that rectified in the Senate[.]"

In other words my "liberal" Democratic U.S. Senator is standing in the schoolhouse door to protect one of the major air polluters in the country, MidAmerican Holdings, parent company of my utility company MidAmerican Energy,q.v. Des Moines Register, June 14, 2009.

In a news story by Thomas Beaumont in this morning's edition of The Des Moines Register:
Sens. Tom Harkin and Charles Grassley both have senior roles on committees related to energy policy, and they both say the House-passed bill unfairly penalizes Midwestern utilities and faces long odds in the Senate.

That hasn't stopped MidAmerican Energy Co. from conducting an ad campaign criticizing Iowa Democrats' support for the bill in the House. The utility says the bill would require it to raise rates in order to comply with provisions aimed at lowering carbon emissions.

U.S. Reps. Leonard Boswell, Bruce Braley and Dave Loebsack say they backed the bill despite reservations because they were happy with changes that helped farmers and rural electric co-operatives. Boswell and Braley described MidAmerican's ads, in print and on the air, as misleading and intended to justify a rate increase.
Well, jesus christ, Blue Dog Boswell and Braley just may be on to something. And why would this "investor owned"--Omaha-based billionaire Warren Buffett being the most major investor--utility company and polluter of Iowa skies seek a rate increase? Back to Beaumont's news story:
The bill would require utilities to obtain government allowances for the amount of heat-trapping carbon they emit. The number of allowances granted would be reduced over time, to compel power companies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Half of these carbon credits would be awarded based on a company's emissions, and the other half would be awarded based on its annual sales.

Some large companies such as Seattle City Light, which provide emissions-free electricity to millions of customers, would be allowed more credits than they need, according to the formula.

MidAmerican, which operates mainly coal-fired power plants, would need to buy credits on a regulated market. The utility, the state's largest electricity provider, had fewer than 550,000 residential customers in Iowa last year.
In other words, MidAmerican will be a big loser in the "cap-and-trade" shell game. Warren's good investment doesn't look so good now. I mean he's in the business of making money from making money and if MidAmerican has to actually use some of its capital to invest in clean(er) electricity generation the value of its stock may take a temporary nose dive. We can't have that, can we? That must be why the "obsessively, relentlessly at your service" MidAmerican has been asking its customers to kick in a buck or ten for renewable energy for the past five years or so.

Well, fuck Warren Buffett and the Dairy Queen he rode in on.

And the usually reliable Beaumont either sallowed MidAmerican's, "we're just a li'l, ol' ma and pa Iowa utility company" bullshit or he was too lazy to "Google" MidAmerican Energy Holdings. Hell, the figure Beaumont quotes "...the state's largest electricity provider, had fewer than 550,000 residential customers in Iowa last year[,]" seems suspiciously low.

Oddly enough, while the Des Moines-based company keeps mum about the real number of its Iowa, Nebraska and Illinois customers, it has no problem telling anyone with enough dough to buy a big block of its holding company stock that subsidiaries PacifiCorp has 1.7 million customers in Oregon, California, Washington, Utah and Idaho, or that CE Electric UK is ...responsible for delivering electricity to over 3.8 million properties across the North East of England, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire[.]

Yet according to "liberal" Democrat Tom Harkin, poor li'l MidAmerican Energy is just a struggling li'l ol' Iowa utility that can't meet its obligations under the terribly flawed and too-little-too-late Waxman-Markey Climate and Energy Bill.


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