We've long suspected that this push for a "national grid" of new high voltage, long distance transmission lines and federal control of transmission siting and permitting was filtering down from The White House. What else could get all these politically appointed federal agency heads to scramble with such alacrity? However, the agenda being championed here is that of big business, the very same big business who got us into this economic mess. It's not intended to bail us out. It's intended to further screw the American Consumer and increase corporate control. Oh, and it's also going to make a bundle of money for the corporate elite.
- Energy Company Payoffs Buy Chamber of Commerce "Study"
- The NIMBY Monster is Winning!
- FERC Order No. 1000, The Push for Federal Siting & Permitting and Investor Owned Utility Propaganda
I tried to slice up this report to reduce file size and concentrate only on the transmission aspects, but guess what? Someone has protected the file with a password so it cannot be altered or copied. How very business like of them! So, you're going to have to put up with the whole file and my direction to certain pages. Some people have been unable to download the file at all, most likely due to its "protected" status. Way to go, fellas, your paranoia is hurting your agenda!
Anyhow, Page 3 presents an executive summary. Here are two of the Council's "recommendations" that are driving all this malarkey: Accelerate job growth through new infrastructure projects and reduce regulation.
Page 8 shows "How the Council has been working." They've been using their Chamber lackeys and other corporate players to control the outcome of their "work." This isn't an honest effort to revive our economy, it's corporate lobbying.
Pages 13 - 16 details their plans and reasoning for building a new transmission grid. They pretend that new transmission infrastructure will be "completely funded by the private sector." This is a sneaky lie. While investment that fronts the cost of building transmission indeed comes from the private sector, the ultimate financier of all this infrastructure is the electric consumer, who will pay all this money back to the investor, with double-digit interest, over the life of the project. New transmission projects will drive up the cost of electricity, and this hurts businesses in the commercial and manufacturing sector who consume the lion's share of electricity in this country. When their costs rise, they have to lay off workers in order to stay afloat. Sometimes the rising costs of doing business simply put them out of business.
They whine about environmental regulation of Marcellus drilling, offshore drilling in the Gulf and the tar sands controversy. It is implied that we should ease regulation and possibly sacrifice our environment in order to create jobs. A job isn't going to do you much good when you're being poisoned by your environment. Environmental regulation exists for a reason and to suggest that it be eased under the guise of "creating jobs" is a Trojan Horse that the industry thinks is hiding their desire to subvert environmental regulation that is hurting their profit initiatives.
On transmission, they whine about old transmission infrastructure and "congestion" but never recognize the simple solution to these problems -- rebuilding and modernization of existing transmission infrastructure completely within existing rights-of-way to increase its capacity and efficiency. Rebuilds cost much, much less and are not faced with siting delays or cumbersome regulatory hurdles.
They whine about a broken permitting and siting process, which isn't really broken at all.
They whine that "the best clean energy resources in the world" can't be utilized without a whole bunch of new transmission. That is an outright lie. The best wind energy resources are located off both coasts and in the Great Lakes. These resources are located in close proximity to population centers, with enough existing transmission to get it to load. The only thing missing is transmission to bring it ashore and the infrastructure to harvest it. Tapping into offshore wind will end up being MUCH cheaper than trying to power the country from the Midwest via a series of huge, new transmission lines. A "national grid" to transport land based wind is estimated to cost around $300B. In comparison, the Atlantic backbone undersea transmission project is priced at $5B, a savings of $295B for electric consumers.
They suggest that Sec. 1221 of the Energy Policy Act can somehow be utilized to override state decisions and force a bunch of new transmission lines. No, it can't. They suggest the President quickly issue an order for new transmission. Well, that would help out the corporate bottom line, wouldn't it? There wouldn't be a bunch of jobs created though. I'm not going to repeat myself, so go read an expose on the propaganda myths being parroted by the Obama administration. Then go check out all the Jobs Council's references on Page 48 -- either they're not reliable sources (industry biased) or they're a slice and dice of data. Are we supposed to wager our economic recovery on a bunch of corporate propaganda? Get real!
Pages 26 - 28 detail their plans for doing away with regulation. C'mon, if you can't trust the industry to regulate themselves, who can you trust, right? Ridiculous. Pages 42 & 43 show corporate America's dream regulatory process. They also want to stomp on "litigation" and confiscate your right to due process when your rights and property are affected by a corporate money-making initiative.
Page 36 contains a rosy summary. However, the pot of gold at the end of this rainbow belongs to the super-rich corporate elite, not out-of-work Americans. See Page 44 for a look at the corporations behind the "Jobs Council." Lots of money to be made by these companies with less federal regulation, isn't there?
If these corporations want to create jobs, they need to get on with it and stop looking for more handouts. We need to jettison this corporate agenda and create REAL energy policy. This isn't the kind of "change" that America needs.