Tag Archives: Obama

Georgia gets $2 billion under transportation bill

When Georgia gets $2 billion from the just-signed federal highway bill, why are federal Interstate 75 Exits 2 and 11 on our Region 11 T-SPLOST list?

Charles Edwards wrote for WABE 6 July 2012, Georgia gets $2 billion under transportation bill

The Georgia Department of Transportation will get infrastructure money under a U-S House resolution President Obama recently signed into law.

Yet more evidence that T-SPLOST is a poorly thought out inappropriate tax. We have through July 31st to vote it down.


Why CWIP is a bad idea

Iowa is rejecting CWIP, and Georgia can, too. Here’s why.

Herman K. Trabish wrote for Green Tech Media 22 February 2012, The Nuclear Industry’s Answer to Its Marketplace Woes: Construction Work in Progress (CWIP) financing shifts the risks of nuclear energy to utility ratepayers,

A sign of the nuclear industry’s difficult situation in the aftermath of Fukushima is a proposal before the Iowa legislature
“Construction Work in Progress was intended to circumvent the core consumer protection of the regulatory decision-making process,”
that would allow utility MidAmerican Energy Holdings, a subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, to build a new nuclear facility in the state using Construction Work in Progress (CWIP) financing (also called advanced cost recovery).

“Investment in nuclear power is the antithesis of the kind of investments you would want to make under the current uncertain conditions,” explained nuclear industry authority Mark Cooper, a senior fellow for economic analysis at Vermont Law School’s Institute for Energy and the Environment. “They cannot raise the capital to build these plants in normal markets under the normal regulatory structures.”

CWIP would allow the utility to raise the money necessary to build a nuclear power plant by billing ratepayers in advance of and during construction.

“Construction Work in Progress was intended to circumvent the core consumer protection of the regulatory decision-making process,” Cooper explained. “It exposes ratepayers to all the risk.” The nuclear industry’s answer to its post-Fukushima challenges, he said, “is to simply rip out the heart of consumer protection and turn the logic of capital markets on their head.”

And the Iowa Utilities Board staff agreed with Cooper and recommended against CWIP.
His message to policymakers is simple, Cooper said. “This is an investment you would not make with your own money. Therefore, you should not make it with the ratepayers’ money.”
Meanwhile, in Georgia: Continue reading

Solar Darien

Darien can also do solar panels at a wastewater treatment plant:

Pat Prokop reported for WTOC 4 August 2011, Darien water treatment plant gets solar panels:

A McIntosh County water treatment plant is going green and saving hundreds of dollars in utility bills.

The city of Darien’s wastewater treatment plant outfitted the facility with solar panels. The city was able to invest more than $1 million on renovations and upgrades to the wastewater collection system, lift stations and treatment plant.

Prokop put a bunch of pictures on facebook.

Where did Darien get the money? Continue reading

The other immigration reaction

Probably everybody has heard that Alabama followed Georgia down the Arizona lock-’em-up anti-immigration path.

According to Albor Ruiz in the New York Daily News, 12 June 2011,

Washington’s inaction on the immigration crisis is no longer sprouting only hostile and inhumane local laws. But there is growing evidence an increasing number of local and state officials have tired of playing an abusive and costly anti-immigration game they don’t believe in.

Two weeks ago, Gov. Cuomo pulled New York State from the Secure Communities federal deportation program, following Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn who had done the same weeks before. And days after Cuomo’s decision Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick took the same courageous step. All three governors are Democrats and strong allies of President Obama.

They had plenty of reasons to quit the controversial Department of Homeland Security program. Promoted as a tool to deport undocumented immigrants convicted of serious crimes, in reality Secure Communities targets mostly low-level offenders or those never convicted of any crime at all.

And who benefits by arresting such people? Private prison companies, which hold the new prisoners.

It’s not just northeast state, either. Here’s a city and state on the frontline of immigration, Los Angeles, California: Continue reading

Wind + Google = Atlantic Wind Connection

Susan Kraemer writes in Clean Technica about Google Builds First US Off-Shore Superhighway for Clean Energy:
Some very exciting news for US clean energy today. Google announced on their blog last night that they will invest in building 350 miles of transmission off the Atlantic coast from New Jersey to Virginia to tap into a gigantic off-shore wind potential that has only just been opened up this year with the first-ever US approval of an off-shore wind farm, by the Obama administration.

The new transmission cables, a superhighway for clean energy, will enable the connection of up to 6,000 MW of offshore wind turbines. That’s equivalent to 60% of the wind energy that was installed in the entire country last year and enough to serve approximately 1.9 million households.

Putting this system in place removes the major barrier: the lack of infrastructure, and should – with a friendly administration, jump-start off-shore wind in this country.

Doesn’t the Georgia Bight (coast of Florida, Georgia, SC, and NC, aka the South Atlantic Bight) have similar wind potential? Maybe somebody should start building a wind farm off of Savannah and invite google to fund transmission lines from there, too.


“I’m amazed at how someone could dare say…”

Brad Lofton responds to Leigh Touchton’s letter of 16 September 2010.


Date: Sun, Sep 19, 2010 at 7:54 AM
From: Brad Lofton <blofton@industrialauthority.com>

Good morning Kay, Sandy et al.

Our unprecedented effort of educating the public included numerous public hearings, briefings with all elected officials, the VDT Editorial Board and groups all across Valdosta. We’ve even spent a great deal of effort trying to brief the NAACP leaving messages and making numerous phone calls to Leigh Touchton that have never been returned. We’ve spent more time educating the community on this project then the sum of any other projects we’ve worked combined. I’m amazed at how someone could dare say that we’ve not informed the public. The vast majority of her concerns for our project would have been answered two years ago if she had come to any of our forums or if she would at least answer her phone when we call. Now that we’re moving into the third year of due diligence, she’s concerned all of a sudden.

Continue reading

Open Government

White House press release:
The Open Government Directive, called for by President Obama on his first full day in office, puts accountability and accessibility at the center of how the federal government operates. It instructs agencies to share information with the public through online, open, accessible, machine-readable formats. Agencies are to inventory existing information and establish a timeline for publishing them online to increase agency accountability and responsiveness; improve public knowledge of the agency and its operations; further the core mission of the agency; create economic opportunity; or respond to need and demand as identified through public consultation.
Agency accountability and responsiveness! What a novel idea. Why I wonder if such a thing could be tailored to local governments?
Second, it aims to instill the values of transparency, participation, and collaboration into the culture of every agency by requiring every agency to formulate an Open Government Plan and website. Specifically, each agency will be required to develop its own, unique roadmap in consultation with the American people and open government experts, rather than prescribing a one-size-fits-all approach. Once again, these ideas came directly from the public’s suggestions.
Government listening to the public’s suggestions? Local government department accountability? As Gandhi is reputed to have said about western civilization: “that would be a good idea!”

Florida Gets Smart About Solar

While Georgia goes for questionable biomass, WCTV reports that CFO Sink Applauds Opening Of Solar Energy Center, Welcomes $200 million in federal funding for Florida.
Florida CFO Alex Sink welcomed the news that a $200 million grant will go to Energy Smart Florida for the installation of 2.6 million smart meters in homes and the installation of advanced monitoring systems in grid substations.

CFO Sink commended President Obama for his commitment to new energy and his visit for the opening of Florida’s DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center, the nation’s largest solar photovoltaic plant. CFO Sink released the following statement:

“Florida has been known as the sunshine state because of our beaches, but today we are taking an important step forward in becoming known as the sunshine state because of our commitment to solar and alternative energy. I commend Florida Power & Light for opening the nation’s largest solar photovoltaic plant here in Southwest Florida, and welcome President Obama to our state to see firsthand how we are working to diversify and modernize Florida’s economy.

“I am also extremely excited that Floridians will benefit from a $200 million grant to modernize our energy grid, one of the largest smart grid grants in the country. As Floridians, we are ready to harness our creativity and entrepreneurial energy to make our state a national leader in the development of a 21st century economy.”

South Georgia has just as much sunshine as north Florida. And you can build solar equipment anywhere. For example in a county with I-75 running through it and I-10 nearby. Maybe if Atlanta won’t lead, Valdosta should.