Government at both the federal and state level has lavished billions on “green” energy, including hundreds of millions on biomass plants — some of which have had to turn around and pay back part of that money in environmental fines.
One green-energy plant in California, for instance, enjoyed the benefit of a “public good” surcharge on utility bills, reports The Wall Street Journal — to the tune of $6 million. Meanwhile, it was burning plastic and rubber. Another plant owned by the same company racked up almost $2 million in violations — after receiving roughly $3 million in state subsidies.
Not all of these biomass plants are burning “literally tons of illegal materials,” as one environmental regulator put it. Others were built during the last green-energy craze, in the Jimmy Carter years, and can’t meet today’s far more stringent regulatory standards. “You’ve got to pull a rabbit out of a hat” to generate power within current constraints on nitrogen-oxide emissions, says the owner of another biomass plant.
Meanwhile, wind-energy farms are turning birds by the thousand into red mist, and three environmental groups have sued the federal government to stop a major solar-power project in the Mojave Desert (it would be bad for tortoises and other wildlife, they say).
Green energy, it seems, is often rather brown. Yet Washington keeps throwing money at it, adding to the ocean of federal red ink. No wonder taxpayers are feeling blue.