Say what? Front groups? You all know how much I love a good (badly constructed) front group! I was really trying to ignore AEP's Wind Catcher project, but now their competition has constructed a really ridiculous front group. It's an accident I simply can't drive by without rubbernecking.
AEP's Wind Catcher project is a ginormous wind farm under construction in Western Oklahoma by Invenergy that will be purchased by AEP upon completion. AEP wants to build a 300+ mile "generation tie line" to connect the wind farm with one of AEP's large regional substations in eastern Oklahoma, and then distribute the energy to its customers in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. AEP wants captive ratepayers in those four states to pay for its project, plus a generous return on AEP's investment. AEP has greased its project and is trying to ram it through state utility commission approvals, pretending it's some kind of tax subsidy emergency. If states don't approve, their ratepayers lose big tax handouts! Ahem... where do tax handouts come from? From taxes. Who pays taxes? The people... the same people who would "benefit" from their own tax payments. Yahoo. This project is a non-starter and not really worth my time. While enough schmoozing and behind closed doors hanky-panky may get the project approved in Oklahoma, the other states get nothing but the bill. Increased electric rates for all. Wind Catcher isn't going to be happening so there's no need to get all excited, and certainly no need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a front group opposing it.
But somebody did. Somebody who claims to be
... dedicated to fostering clean energy sources that best serve the needs of local consumers.
Protect our Pocketbooks supports clean energy, but we believe that energy infrastructure investments should be made locally.
So, we support local clean energy sources, do we? Which ones? Where? What are we doing instead of importing energy from Oklahoma? Doesn't say. We're all about the Wind Catcher hate and have no better ideas to promote. Lawmakers love that shit. No, really. They love to listen to constituents whine about stuff they don't want without coming up with and supporting better ideas. You'd think someone spending all this money would have a better grasp of what motivates lawmakers. I mean they could at least pretend they're for something real.
But if they were actually for something, then they'd reveal who's funding this front group. Supposedly it's "clean energy." Would the fossil fuel industry really make a front group claiming to be a supporter of "clean energy?" That's what all the enviro-wackos who support big wind will think... that the fossil fuel industry must be behind it. Just like they think the fossil fuel industry pays me big bucks to write this blog (Hey! Koch Brothers! You're way, way past due on my payments! I'm still waiting for the first one to arrive!). I'm not so sure. Is it more likely a shady front group would skirt the truth instead of out and out lying? So what if this front group is being financed by other players in the wind industry who want to stop Wind Catcher so they can develop Oklahoma wind and transmission instead? There's a huge gold mine for someone who ends up owning the Oklahoma wind.
Here's why I believe "Protect our Pocketbooks, Inc." is a front group.
A front group is described as:
A front group is an organization that purports to represent one agenda while in reality it serves some other party or interest whose sponsorship is hidden or rarely mentioned. The front group is perhaps the most easily recognized use of the third party technique.
- This group has no contact info on its website. It has no physical office. You cannot contact them. I suppose you could write to them at PO Box 3835 in Little Rock, which is the principal address for the organization used by its incorporator. Just don't expect a reply.
- This group has a slick, professional website that seems to be directed at inspiring people to "take action." Political "action."
- This group does not mention who funds it.
- This group has incorporated as a "non-profit" corporation.
- This group does not list its members.
- This group does not list its employees, directors or management.
- This group was incorporated by someone named Justin T. Allen of Little Rock. Searching for Justin T. Allen in Little Rock brings up this character. He works for energy interests? How very interesting!
- This group has videos that people say are TV commercials. TV commercials? Do you have any idea how much it costs to advertise on TV? Who is paying the advertising bills? Remember, this group has no funders, no members, and no directors.
- There's an awful lot of money being spent trying to convince people to oppose the Wind Catcher project. Someone must stand to make a real bundle if this project fails. Who could it be?
Invenergy should watch its back. Hey, and maybe they can create their own front group? The only thing more fun than a front group is two or more competing front groups... with TV commercials, and websites! We are kind of in the winter doldrums now... entertain me, make me laugh!