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Farming taxpayers

So they’re talking about despoiling the landscape between the eastern edge of Apple Valley and High Road in Lucerne Valley with a wind farm consisting of up to 42 wind turbines on 10,500 acres.

Monday’s story in the Daily Press made no mention of costs, but we can assure you that the government will be the big financial partner in the project, one of nine, we’re told, on file with the Bureau of Land Management’s Barstow office. We’re also told there are another 19 such projects on file with the Ridgecrest office. And when we say the government will be the big financial partner, we’re talking about your money.

Would these enormously expensive boondoggles even be considered without government subsidies?

Here’s what Warren Buffet, one of the great accumulators of wealth in the history of he world, thinks. In an interview with Fortune magazine last week – and commented on in the Wall Street Journal Monday – Buffet said that his company, Berkshire Hathaway, that his company gets involved in wind energy projects because, “(W)e get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.” And this man know about money.

Cemex, the firm that owns and operates Riverside Cement, situated along Old Route 66 alongside the Mojave River in the eastern part of Victorville, put up three of the giant windmills within the past couple of years, but only tangentially because of the electricity generated. The real reason is the massive government subsidy Cemex received for the turbines, which each cost $5 million.

Does any of this make sense? Only if you’re out to cut your taxes at the expense of the ordinary taxpayer. And there are plenty of those companies, including Berkshire Hathaway, ready to do so.

This is all driven by environmental activists, who have so flummoxed the general public (and Congress) into believing renewable energy contributes to the public good by cutting carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use that it’s become almost anti-American to protest.

But we suspect that, with our vast new energy sources as epitomized by the rapid growth of America’s natural gas supply, the general public is about to come down hard on wind farms. Especially when they learn how many birds fall victim to the spinning blades, and more especially when they become informed about the true cost of renewables. How much carbon dioxide goes into the atmosphere, for instance, when the aluminum and fibreglass needed for the turbines consumes so much fossil fuel-generated energy? How much more useful would the money spent subsidizing such energy sources be if it weren’t extracted from the free market, sent to Washington (where government levies its pound of flesh) and then wasted on these boondoggles?

Let’s hope the people of Apple Valley come down hard on this latest assault on common sense and the taxpayers’ dollar. Let’s start being practical about energy – and sensible about where our money goes.