GAO REPORT EXPOSES MILLIONS IN ENVIRONMENTAL LITIGATION FEES FOR FIRST TIME

Inhofe, Vitter Say GAO Report Just the Beginning of Oversight Activity

Link to GAO Report

Washington, D.C. – A new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report requested by Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and Senator David Vitter (R-LA), a member of the EPW Committee, was released today. The GAO report uncovers, for the first time, the millions of taxpayer dollars that are going to attorneys’ fees for environmental litigation against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Yet the report is limited because GAO, the government watchdog, was unable to obtain information from several federal agencies during the requested time period from 1995-2010.

Under various statutes, EPA and the Treasury Department are required to reward attorneys’ fees to plaintiffs that successfully challenge EPA. Based on a snapshot of EPA’s litigation from 1995-2010, the report finds that environmental groups (ENGOs) profited more than any other plaintiff. The report includes litigation costs for all EPA environmental statutes except the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

The data table in the report shows that one litigant – Earthjustice – received $4,655,425.60 or 32 percent of all attorneys’ fees paid to EPA litigants. When combined with 2 other litigants – the Sierra Club ($966,687.34) and the Natural Resources Defense Council ($252,004.87) – these three groups received 41 percent of all the attorneys’ fees awarded to EPA litigants.

In addition to attorneys’ fees awarded, the GAO found that the Department of Justice (DOJ) spent at least $43 million in taxpayer dollars defending EPA in court from 1998 – 2010. Further, the report uncovered that most of the attorneys’ fees paid to environmental organizations were paid under the Clean Air Act, followed next by the Clean Water Act.

The report is part of a continued effort by Senators Inhofe and Vitter to ensure greater transparency at EPA.

Senator Inhofe: “Today’s GAO report is the tip of the iceberg as we work to get to the bottom of just how many taxpayer dollars are going to pay attorneys’ fees in environmental suits. It is outrageous that these agencies couldn’t provide the requested information and it is even more concerning that we have yet to get the full story. Not surprisingly, we have learned from the data provided in the GAO report that several big green groups have benefited financially from citizen suit provisions, which was not the original intent of the law. We have also discovered a glaring lack of transparency on the part of EPA, DOJ, and the Department of Treasury as GAO was unable to obtain information for several years of litigation payments. The American public deserves greater transparency from EPA and the federal government. I will be working with Senator Vitter and my colleagues to continue this thorough oversight.”

Senator Vitter: “The GAO report shows that taxpayers have been on the hook for years while ‘Big Green’ trial lawyers have raked in millions of dollars suing the government. Even worse, because of sloppy record keeping by the EPA and other agencies and a lack of cooperation by the Justice Department, we’re not even sure how bad the problem really is. This is unacceptable and I’m going to continue working to demand greater transparency.”

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) uncovered a troubling lack of transparency and accountability in record keeping regarding environmental litigation expenses incurred in EPA litigation. Specifically, GAO could only provide the Senators with data from recent years, rather than the past 15 years, as the Senators requested.

Specifically, GAO found:

Inconsistent formatting of key data elements produced significant problems for completing our analysis and required significant manual review by GAO and Justice.
The Department of Justice does not have a standard approach for maintaining key data on environmental litigation cases, and the data they do collect are in two separate databases that do not collect the same type of data on environmental cases.
EPA does not track its attorneys’ time by case, GAO was not able to include data on EPA attorney costs spent on environmental litigation cases.
GAO was unable to calculate the total number of hours that Justice Attorneys worked on environmental cases – and hence, total costs of attorney time – because the U.S. Attorneys’ time is not tracked by case.
The Department of Treasury does record data on payments made from its Judgment Fund, an account within the Treasury Department authorized under the Equal Access to Justice Act for rewarding attorneys’ fees to successful plaintiffs, but does not publish them.
The government may also incur other costs associated with litigation, including the costs of revising regulations in response to lawsuits, EPA overhead costs, and costs associated with delays in EPA permitting, but GAO did not have reliable data to quantify these costs.
GAO Found No Plans to Improve Transparency and Accountability.

In discussing these accountability issues, Justice officials said they do not plan to change their approach to managing the data because they use the data in each system to manage individual cases, not to identify and summarize agency wide data on cases or trends.
While funds are spent to maintain the systems, Justice officials indicated that the systems are old and adding data fields or otherwise making changes to the systems may be technically infeasible or too costly.

Currently, no aggregated data on environmental litigation or associated costs are reported by federal agencies.

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Britain’s Wind Farm Scam Threatens Economic Recovery

From Benny Peiser at The GWPF:

In a sane world, no one would dream of building power sources whose cost is 22 times greater than that of vastly more efficient competitors. But the Government feels compelled to do just this because it sees it as the only way to meet our commitment to the EU that within nine years Britain must generate nearly a third of its electricity from “renewable” sources, six times more than we do at present. Madness is far too polite a word. –-Christopher Booker, The Sunday Telegraph, 21 August 2011

They are among the nation’s wealthiest aristocrats, whose families have protected the British landscape for centuries. Until now that is. For increasing numbers of the nobility – among them dukes and even a cousin of the Queen – are being tempted by tens of millions of pounds offered by developers. –Robert Mendick and Edward Malnick, The Sunday Telegraph, 21 August 2011

In the course of the 25-year lifespan of the wind farm at Fallago Rig it could net the Duke anywhere between £18 million and £62.5 million. One industry expert estimated Fallago Rig could generate about £875 million income over the next quarter of a century for the Duke and his commercial partner North British Windpower. –Robert Mendick and Edward Malnick, The Sunday Telegraph, 21 August 2011

The level of subsidy available to landowners to put up these turbines is out of all proportion to the public benefit derived from them and the temptation to ruin what is usually outstanding landscapes is overwhelming. It is a crime against the landscape. –Sir Simon Jenkins, National Trust, The Sunday Telegraph, 21 August 2011

Green taxes will make up more than a third of the price of electricity by the end of the decade, pushing up prices to new highs by 2020. Figures from Utilyx, the energy consultants and traders, forecast a 58pc rise in the cost of power by 2020, largely driven by the impending avalanche of green taxes due to come into force over the next 10 years. –Rowena Mason, The Sunday Telegraph, 21 August 2011

If Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has his way, Britons will be forced to subsidise renewable energy by approximately £100billion in the next 20 years. Electricity prices are likely to double as a direct result. The Government has to force energy companies to make electricity bills fully transparent so that the ever-increasing level of hidden green taxes are clearly listed for families and households. –Benny Peiser, Daily Mail, 8 July 2011

Energy firms have been asked to clearly explain how they calculate bills after concerns were raised that customers may have been overcharged after price rises. –Totally Money, 20 August 2011

Solar Energy: Tough Love in the EU

by Gary Hunt
August 17, 2011

Across the European Union, solar energy is facing tough love conditions as its feed-in-tariffs (FiT) face déjà vu in another round of reduction.

Like in the classic Tale of Two Cities, the world of solar energy today seems filled with the excitement of seeing its revolutionary potential realized by rapid growth, while fearful that falling prices, changing feed in tariff subsidies and looming government deficits will overwhelm it first.

There is no denying solar energy’s promise and potential. Its rapid growth is a worldwide phenomenon. Lately I have been catching up on the news reports and changing solar situation in Europe. A recent report prepared by Ernst & Young for UK’s Solar Trade Association confirmed what we already knew that solar PV prices are falling so fast that by 2013 they will be half of what they cost in 2009. But keep in mind for for on-grid applications, conventional power sources fueled by shale gas in particular are improving too.

New EU Realities

The EU’s big aspirations for a clean energy, low emissions future had run up against government budget deficits. Consequently, the mother’s milk of feed-in-tariffs for qualifying renewables is vulnerable to rapid modification.

Across the EU countries, feed-in-tariffs are being reduced or at least re-evaluated for affordability about every six months. France is the latest country to announce changes in its feed-in-tariff regime. The UK is scheduled to follow suit slashing its feed in tariff rates in August 2011.

So while the FiT has been seen as the most efficient tool for renewable financial support, it also accelerates the boom and bust nature of energy markets forcing producers to rush projects to market to take advantage of the current FiT subsidy rate for fear it will fall in the next round of review. Spain, Germany, France, Italy, UK have all seen their FiT subsidies cut. The Czech Government has gone so far as to impose a tariff to tax solar installations in an effort to slow the bubble.

Ernst & Young Business Risk Radar for Energy 2013
But solar energy is facing more disruptive risk realities ahead. Most of the countries using the FiT hoped to create a sustainable local production capability for solar panels and used the FiT in an effort to create jobs as they ‘greened’ their environment.

Good concept, bad policy execution. Falling solar PV prices from China undercut local producers, suctioned up the FiT subsidy revenue and sent it back to China leaving local manufacturers stuck holding overpriced inventory. When the inevitable happened and those domestic manufacturers ‘dumped’ PV panels on the market at fire sale prices they cratered the global PV panel market for months. The EU governments responded by slashing FiT subsidies using the convenient excuse that China was abusing the tariff when, in truth, the governments could no longer afford the subsidies as the economy weakened.

Industrial Policy Failure: Picking ’Winners’

All the social engineering and industrial policy in the EU and the US of picking energy winners and losers has failed.

Markets will not be denied and the process of rationalization underway cannot be stopped. Fast forward to 2011, feed in tariffs are now routinely reviewed every six months and adjusted leaving producers uncertain about what the future subsidy level will be. Prices are falling fast but are not yet at grid parity levels where no subsidy is needed to make solar energy profitable. Compound those market realities with the resurgence of interest in wind energy particularly large scale off shore wind across the EU and so the solar lobby boom and bust cycle continues.

Solar energy sees the holy grail of global market share within its reach, but it has become so dependent upon government subsidies that its core competency focus has been hijacked from driving up the efficiency of its products while driving down their cost to reach grid parity prices and instead is focused on lobbying politicians and begging for FiT subsidies.

The days of tougher love are here.

Northeast States Work to Raise Gasoline Prices

By Marlo Lewis

Yesterday’s Greenwire (subscription required) reports that 11 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states are working on a plan, modeled on California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) program, to cut the carbon intensitity (CI) of motor fuels by 5%-15% over the next 15 years. The Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM), the association of Northeast air regulatory agencies, could release the framework for the plan “as early as this month,” writes Greenwire reporter Jason Plautz.

Plautz links to a NESCAUM-authored discussion draft for “stakeholders.” After a short introductory paragraph, the document states in bold italics: “This document is not intended for distribution beyond the participating agencies and should not be cited or quoted.” Hey, I just did – so sue me!

The document never mentions the potential impact of the LCFS on fuel prices. But what else did you expect? In the “trust us, we know what’s best for the planet” world of carbon politics, affordable energy is despised, not prized.

Mandated reductions in motor fuel CI are bound to increase fuel prices. To comply with an LCFS, blenders must either modify the mix of the fuels they sell, modify their production processes, or both. If lower-carbon fuels were cheaper than gasoline, government wouldn’t need to mandate their sale, because consumers would demand them, and competition would drive energy companies to supply them. Alternative fuels must be mandated precisely because they are more expensive to produce than gasoline, reduce auto fuel economy, or face market barriers such as the massive investments required to build natural gas fueling infrastructure.

As a regional standard, the proposed LCFS would create another category of “boutique” fuels – fuel blends that vary by state and region based on regulatory specifications. Reformulating gasoline or diesel fuel to comply with such specifications increases production costs, some of which get passed on to consumers. Boutique fuels also have smaller economies of scale than standard blends. As the American Trucking Assocations says of California’s boutique diesel fuel:

California was the first state in the nation to mandate a boutique diesel fuel. Although California diesel costs only 4-5 cents extra to refine, the fuel typically sells for a 14 cent premium compared to neighboring states. This price differential is the result of higher distribution costs and reduced competition, as only a handful of refineries produce California’s boutique diesel fuel.

So would nationalizing California’s or NESCAUM’s LCFS fix the problem? Only if U.S. refineries could actually make upwards of 135 billion gallons annually of affordable low-carbon fuel. A June 2010 Charles River Associates (CRA) report analyzed the economic repercussions of a national LCFS requiring a 10% reduction in motor fuel CI from 2015 to 2025. The problem, argues CRA, is that achieving a 10% overall reduction in U.S. motor fuel CI is “beyond the reach of foreseeable technology.” Unable to comply, blenders would sell less fuel. The drop in fuel supply would drive up fuel prices by 30% to 80%, which in turn would have severe negative impacts on GDP, household purchasing power, and job creation.

Who would benefit from a Northeast LCFS? Why, the bureaucrats who design and run the program, of course. NESCAUM’s discussion draft contemplates the creation of a new “regional organization” to administer the LCFS. The program would also effectively raise taxes via “surcharges” on the sale of low-carbon credits, “alternative compliance payments,” and “transaction fees.”

So more pain at the pump, more bureaucracy, and more boodle for the “participating agencies.” Any resemblance to cap-and-trade programs living or dead is not coincidental.

Seattle’s ‘green jobs’ program a bust

Last year, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn announced the city had won a coveted $20 million federal grant to invest in weatherization. The unglamorous work of insulating crawl spaces and attics had emerged as a silver bullet in a bleak economy – able to create jobs and shrink carbon footprint – and the announcement came with great fanfare.

McGinn had joined Vice President Joe Biden in the White House to make it. It came on the eve of Earth Day. It had heady goals: creating 2,000 living-wage jobs in Seattle and retrofitting 2,000 homes in poorer neighborhoods.

But more than a year later, Seattle’s numbers are lackluster. As of last week, only three homes had been retrofitted and just 14 new jobs have emerged from the program. Many of the jobs are administrative, and not the entry-level pathways once dreamed of for low-income workers. Some people wonder if the original goals are now achievable.

“The jobs haven’t surfaced yet,” said Michael Woo, director of Got Green, a Seattle community organizing group focused on the environment and social justice.

“It’s been a very slow and tedious process. It’s almost painful, the number of meetings people have gone to. Those are the people who got jobs. There’s been no real investment for the broader public.”

‘Who’s got the money’

The buildings that have gotten financing so far include the Washington Athletic Club and a handful of hospitals, a trend that concerns community advocates who worry the program isn’t helping lower-income homeowners.

“Who’s benefitting from this program right now – it doesn’t square with what the aspiration was,” said Howard Greenwich, the policy director of Puget Sound Sage, an economic-justice group. He urged the city to revisit its social-equity goals.

“I think what it boils down to is who’s got the money.”

Organizers and policy experts blame the economy, bureaucracy and bad timing for the program’s mediocre results. Called Community Power Works, the program funds low-interest loans and incentives for buildings to do energy-efficient upgrades. They include hospitals, municipal buildings, big commercial structures and homes.

Half the funds are reserved for financing and engaging homeowners in Central and Southeast Seattle, a historically underserved area. Most of the jobs are expected to come from this sector.

But the timing of the award has led to hurdles in enticing homeowners to bite on retrofits. The city had applied for the grant at a time of eco-giddiness, when former Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels was out-greening all other politicians except for Al Gore. Retrofits glowed with promise to boost the economy, reduce consumer bills and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

“A triple win,” is how Biden characterized it.

By the time Seattle won the award, homeowners were battered by unemployment and foreclosures. The long-term benefits of energy upgrades lacked the tangible punch of a new countertop. And the high number of unemployed construction workers edged out new weatherization installers for the paltry number of jobs.

“Really, we couldn’t have rolled out this program at a worse time,” said Greenwich, who had helped write the city’s grant proposal.

“The outcomes are very disappointing. I think the city has worked really hard, but no one anticipated just how bad this recession was going to be, and the effect it was going to have on this program.”

City feels ‘cautiously optimistic’

As of last week, 337 homeowners had applied for the program. Fourteen had gotten a loan, or were in the process of getting one.

“Yes, we’re not seeing as many completed retrofits as we wanted to,” said Joshua Curtis, the city’s manager for Community Power Works. “While everyone would like to see more upgrades, I think we’re feeling cautiously optimistic.”

He said the residential portion of program didn’t launch until April. He said there was a normal summertime lull in work and that he expected things to pick up in the fall. He was confident that the city’s marketing campaign and loan partner held promise.

Curtis said there were factors outside the city’s control, such as the economy. And he attributed frustration among job-seekers to a “mismatch” in the timing of two federal grants.

Before the city got the $20 million, some local agencies, including Got Green, had received funds in a government push to train workers in weatherization. But the anticipation of landing career-path jobs evaporated as months went by with no work.

“People are frustrated and rightly so,” Curtis said. “There’s been sort of a lag time when people graduated from those programs.”

They include Long Duong, 32, who got a certificate in sealing air leaks and insulating walls after he was laid off from a job handling bags at the airport. But he soon found that other men had more qualifications than him, and he took part-time gigs – installing light bulbs and canvassing doors – while waiting for work.

A year later, he’s still looking.

“I haven’t given up yet,” said Duong, of South Seattle. “Weatherization is another opportunity for me.”

Curtis said the money that financed the Washington Athletic Club and hospitals doesn’t draw from funds reserved for single-family homeowners. He said the program’s standards will ensure that people targeted by the program – low-income workers – will get good jobs. And he said the WAC project will create some new work in September.

“We’re not where we want to be, but we have a path forward,” he said.

City needs to ‘step up its game’

But will the city hit its goals? Curtis was hopeful Seattle would make it by 2013, when the funding ends. Greenwich, of Puget Sound Sage, said the city needs to retrofit 100 to 200 homes a month to create 2,000 jobs. Woo, of Got Green, thinks the city needs to throw more money on incentives.

Greenwich said the energy retrofit market has turned out to be extremely complicated, with required hammering out of job standards, hiring practices, wages and how best to measure energy benefits.

“The city is really going to have to step up its game to get the 2,000 retrofits,” Greenwich said.

“But if this would have been easy, it would have been done already.”

Visit seattlepi.com’s home page for more Seattle news. Contact Vanessa Ho at 206-448-8003 or vanessaho@seattlepi.com, and follow her on Twitter as @vanessaho. Read here.

The Party’s Over for Big Wind

By Robert Bryce, The Manhattan Project

Thirteen months ago, Denise Bode, the head lobbyist for the American Wind Energy Association, declared that the “U.S. wind industry is in distress.”

If last year was bad for the U.S. wind industry, then 2011 is looking to be positively disastrous. A combination of cheap natural gas, growing resistance to wind turbine installations, and the inability of cash-strapped governments to continue hefty subsidies, is taking the wind out of wind.

For AWEA’s minions and hirelings, these facts are truly dangerous. And because of that, they continue to use character assassination on anyone who questions the future of their highly subsidized industry.

But AWEA’s own data shows that the wind industry is becalmed. During the first half of this year, the U.S. installed just 2,151 megawatts of new capacity. That means that 2011 may be even worse for the domestic wind industry than 2010, when U.S. wind generation capacity grew by 5,100 megawatts. And that 2010 total was about half of the 10,010 megawatts added in 2009. Indeed, this year domestic wind additions may be smaller than at anytime since at least 2006.

Let’s start with the most important issue: low-cost natural gas. About three years ago, one of the wind industry’s biggest boosters, T. Boone Pickens, was claiming that natural gas prices had to be at least $9 for wind energy to be competitive. In March 2010, Pickens was still hawking wind energy, but he’d lowered his price threshold saying, “The place where it works best is with natural gas at $7.” By January of this year, a chastened Pickens was explaining that you can’t “finance a wind deal unless you have $6 gas.”

That may be true, but on the spot market, natural gas now sells for about $4 per million Btu. Today’s relatively low natural gas prices are a direct result of the drilling industry’s new-found prowess at unlocking huge quantities of methane from shale beds. Those lower prices are great for consumers, but terrible for the wind business. And worse yet for the wind business is this: many of the sharpest analysts in the natural gas sector expect low-cost natural gas — that is gas at around $4 — will persist for several years to come.

Local resistance to industrial wind projects is also growing, a fact that AWEA claims is due to “NIMBYs.” AWEA’s use of that word is a slur on those who are trying to protect the value of their homes and property against industrial wind projects.

Here’s the reality: the backlash against industrial wind is real, it’s global, and it’s growing. The U.S. has about 170 anti-wind groups. AWEA doesn’t want you to know that a number of towns in New York state have prohibited the construction of industrial wind turbines. In April, the town of Falmouth, Massachusetts enacted a year-long moratorium on construction of new wind turbines. And earlier this month, a pair of environmental groups in Massachusetts called for a ban on new turbines in the state until more work is done on the health effects of wind turbine noise.

The wind lobby is desperate to downplay the problem of infrasound from wind turbines. But this month, in a peer-reviewed article in the Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, Carl V. Phillips, a Harvard-trained PhD, concludes that there is “overwhelming evidence that wind turbines cause serious health problems in nearby residents, usually stress-disorder type diseases, at a nontrivial rate.”

The subsidies for wind energy are in peril. A recent report from the Energy Information Administration shows that in 2010, the wind energy sector got more federal subsidies than any other energy sector other than biofuels. The report found that wind energy got a total of $4.986 billion in subsidies, or nearly twice as much as was given to the oil and gas sector, which got $2.82 billion. The majority of the wind energy money came from the federal stimulus package passed in 2009. But much of that stimulus money has been spent.

Last December, AWEA cheered after Congress approved a tax bill that included a one-year extension of the investment tax credit for renewable energy. But another high-profile renewable energy subsidy, the tax credit for the corn ethanol scam, is due to expire at the end of this year. And given that Republicans in Washington are eager to cut all types of federal spending, the investment tax credit is likely to, once again, be in legislators’ cross hairs.

Bode was right a year ago when she said the wind industry is in distress. Her industry’s still in peril today because it cannot survive without mandates and taxpayer subsidies. And unless or until it can, she cannot expect any sympathy from cash-strapped voters.

Green Energy Stocks Fall as Solar Sector Hit by ‘Triple Whammy’

Clean energy stocks fell the most in more than two and a half years, outpacing declines in benchmark indexes, led by solar stocks hit by falling prices and demand.

The Wilderhill New Energy Global Innovation Index, a global index of clean energy stocks, fell 6.8 percent today, the most since Dec. 1, 2008, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 5.5 percent. Battery maker A123 Systems Inc. (AONE) led the index lower, falling 23 percent to $2.99.

Renesola Ltd. (SOL), a Chinese maker of solar panels, led declines in solar stocks, closing down 18 percent at $2.76, after the U.S. credit rating downgrade caused investors to retreat from riskier assets. Yingli Green Energy Holding Co., a China-based maker of solar panels, fell 11 percent to $5.08. Solar stocks have fallen this year due to cuts in subsidies in Europe and manufacturing overcapacity in expansion in Asia.

“This is a triple whammy pulling stock prices lower: industry-specific issues like overcapacity and a drop in demand in combination with government debt and budget concerns and broader risk aversion in the financial markets,” said Aaron Chew, analyst at Maxim Group LLC. “Solar is at the top of the risk pile as even most high-tech names are more secure.”

JA Solar Holdings Co., a Chinese manufacturer of solar cells and panels, fell 69 cents, or 17 percent, to close at $3.35 a share in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. JA said today that its gross margin may plunge in the second quarter on lower selling prices and inventory provisions.

The Wilderhill index has dropped 30 percent in the past four months compared to the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s decline of 1 percent.

Blowing money in the wind

By Jerry Agar, Toronto Sun

Wind power is green, right?

It helps keep the air clean, doesn’t it?

Not according to the people suing the state of Colorado over wind power. The American Tradition Institute’s (ATI) Environmental Law Center sued the State of Colorado in federal court last week.

“We’re putting wind on trial because people don’t understand the facts behind wind,” says Director Dr. David Schnare. “We believe that if people knew how variable wind was, and how dirty it was, if they knew the wind was neither free nor clean, then they may not have government demand its use.”

“The mandate for the use of renewables has essentially caused the air to become worse and the cost to go up,” says Schnare, a former employee of the Environmental Protection Agency.

The problem, Schnare says, is wind is variable and therefore not reliable. A backup source is needed and that is invariably coal or gas-fired plants. Since the supply of power has to equal the consumption of power, the coal plant is going down and up to keep pace with the wind power going up and down.

That causes the coal plant to act like a car in busy urban traffic, which emits more pollutants than a car sailing along on a smooth highway at a constant speed. It is this reality which Schnare says causes the hoped-for positive effect of wind to be negated, at a huge financial cost to consumers.

Some people think the financial cost is worth it, but do they get the result they want?

John Laforet, president of Wind Concerns Ontario, says his group broadly supports legal action against the wind industry and governments “that provide billions of dollars to perpetuate the wind industry’s fraud.

“We’ve seen in Ontario that industrial wind energy isn’t affordable, reliable, green or safe for local host communities,” Laforet says.

“It is shocking that big wind and its supporters continue to campaign in favour of billions of dollars worth of green pork for this failed industry, that Ontarians can’t afford, without any commitment to the truth.”

John Yakabuski, Ontario PC Energy critic pounced, too, as the energy file will be key heading toward October’s election.

“Dalton McGuinty has made such a mess of the energy file in Ontario that his expensive energy experiments will cost Ontario families $732 a year more by 2015. He continues to thumb his nose at Ontario families and continues his blatant electioneering to cement his legacy of skyrocketing hydro bills by including poison pills in the FIT contracts.”

ATI, along with the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University estimated the cost to the economy of forcing renewable energy mandates. They estimate in addition to the extra cost of energy to consumers, the cost to business would be passed along in reduced income or layoffs.

“In 2021 a 15% mandate would reduce annual wages by $227 per worker. The job losses and price increases would reduce real incomes as firms, households and governments spend more of their budgets on electricity and less on other items, such as home goods and services.”

So a higher energy bill to pay out of a lower income? Great news!

“McGuinty’s target is 13% of generation, but an installed capacity much greater than that because wind is so unreliable,” Laforet says. “It’s also going to be fossil fuel backed up, which is why it isn’t green at all.”

McGuinty’s green plan should make you see red.

Part 1: pollution
http://www.atinstitute.org/ati-environmental-law-center-v-state-of-colorado-renewables-mandate-pt-1-pollution/

Part 2: constitutionality
http://www.atinstitute.org/ati-environmental-law-center-v-state-of-colorado-renewables-mandate-pt-2-constitutionality/