The March 10 front-page article on the Shepherd’s Flat wind project ought to be enough to enable the Oregon Department of Energy to recoup all the $30 million it handed over to an outfit that sought to pull the wool over taxpayers’ eyes (“One project, indivisible”).
From the existence of the criteria established to guard against the shenanigans Caithness Energy employed to such good effect, it’s plain that someone in DOE anticipated that opportunistic outfits would try to do us out of extra tax breaks totaling millions of dollars. But the mindset of being on guard against that likelihood does not seem to have been established in the minds of our DOE personnel who are in position to enforce the safeguards. Moreover, it is apparent that there are not enough people in the DOE detailed with verifying tax credit claims. Until there are, so that fiascoes like this can be avoided in the future, DOE either must: a) hire more people to competently handle the paperwork, b) simply tell outfits it’s just going to take longer to properly evaluate requests due to limited resources, or c) charge an evaluation fee to cover the cost of putting more personnel on staff to competently deal with the number of pending cases.
In the meantime, I expect to read in the near future how the Department of Justice is working to get our money back.
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