Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Cronyism in Bloom

A lawsuit has been filed by Cause of Action against the Markell Administration over the deal made with Bloom Energy.

WASHINGTON – Government accountability group Cause of Action (CoA) filed suit today in federal court to challenge Delaware’s sweetheart deal with Bloom Energy, Inc. (Bloom). Governor Jack Markell and the members of the Delaware Public Service Commission are unconstitutionally discriminating against Bloom’s competitors and taxing a segment of Delaware residents to subsidize the crony company.
My only concern is holding only the Markell Administration accountable when members of the General Assembly voted in support of the bill.
In late 2011, the Delaware Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards Act (REPSA) was modified solely to accommodate the state’s deal with Bloom. In return for Bloom’s promise to construct a manufacturing facility in Delaware, the state established a system of discriminatory eligibility requirements, subsidies, and energy-portfolio-standards multipliers that benefit Bloom. These requirements deny out-of-state companies equal competitive footing and increase costs for Delmarva ratepayers who might otherwise benefit from the competitive interstate market. According to a report by the Delaware Public Service Commission, the cost through tariffs to ratepayers will amount to $133 million.
 If fuel cells are so great, they should be able to stand on their own without regulatory carve outs.  We should not be offering these carve outs or tax benefits to any kind of energy and allow them all to compete on an even footing.  I admittedly don't remember seeing this bill in 2011, but I'll start looking for it on the Delaware Legislature's website.  If anyone remembers it or finds it first, please leave it in the comments section below, or contact me some other way and I'll post an update to this article.  kthxbye.

UPDATE
The bill was SB124, sponsored by our Senate Pro Tempore, Tony DeLuca.  Go offer him your thoughts.  Don't be too hard on him though, the bill was cosponsored by just about everybody and passed with 35/41 yes votes in the House and 18/21 yes votes in the Senate.  Making Markell the scapegoat for a General Assembly that rubber stamps legislation like this is missing the forest for the trees.  They passed NINE days after introducing it during the last month of the session before our legislators retire to the beach for the summer.  They must be held to account too.

We have met the enemy, and it is us.  We must demand better of ALL of our legislators and we must demand better of ourselves.  We must demand a process in the General Assembly that offers us the time to educate ourselves and our communities about these complex issues and inform our legislators of what is at stake for us.  We can do this.  We have the technology.  We should not introduce and pass a bill with such an impact in nine days.  9.  We are now left with one brave Delawarean rallying us to fight the will of the State of Delaware over whether or not this sweetheart deal will stand.  Where were our legislators?  Where were we?  Where will we be on September 11th this year when we cast our primary ballots?

In OTHER news, Kent County is the only county in Delaware where unemployment is still going up instead of down.  While the State is handing out special favors to the politically connected constituencies elsewhere, we're paying for it and being pushed out of our own jobs by increased red tape we can't circumvent with well timed and well placed campaign contributions, a wink, and a handshake.

It's the Delaware Way.  It is exceptionally unwise.  We need to do things differently.


4 comments:

  1. The problem in this state is the one-party rule at the state level, causing the "official" minority party to go along to get along in exchange for occasionally getting their own bills passed. Unless more voices (Republican, Libertarian, Green, Independent, etc.) are heard, this go-along to get along attitude by the state GOP and DEM parties will continue to milk the taxpayers in order to do things to win votes in November.

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  2. As a follow up to naming Gov. Markell in the lawsuit, I assume the Cause of Action folks are arguing since he is the CEO of the state, he could have been the leading, sensible voice against the Legislature and vetoed the bill on the grounds that not opening the bid up for competition was unfair. That said, the Legislature deserves blame too. Follow the case-perhaps Cause of Action will make that point during the hearing.

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    1. Plus its easier to go after one individual than it is to go after the entire Legislature...

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    2. Going after the entire legislature falls to the people to vote for different legislators and run for office themselves against this nonsense. Thanks for your comments.

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