Skip to comments.Obama's Algae Racket
Posted on 03/21/2012 3:44:59 AM PDT by Kaslin
Pond scum stinks. And so do the Obama administration's enormous, taxpayer-funded "investments" in politically connected biofuel companies. While the president embarks on a green rehabilitation tour this week to quell growing public outrage about big green boondoggles, the White House continues to cultivate a cozy algae racket.
Obama's promotion of algae as a fuel source at a campaign speech in Miami last month caught the nation's attention. But algae companies have been banking on administration support from Day One. In December 2008, when the White House announced the nomination of Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the CEO of Florida-based biofuels startup Algenol, Paul Woods, exulted to Time magazine: "You see this smile on my face? It's not going away. Everyone is really excited by this."
The next year, Woods and Algenol -- dubbed "Obama's favorite algae company" by Forbes magazine -- racked up $25 million in federal stimulus grants from Chu. Say cheese.
Yet another algae-based biofuels developer, Sapphire Energy, has absorbed $105 million in stimulus funds and loan guarantees even as doubts about the practicality, efficiency and viability of pond-scum fuels multiply. Sapphire's CEO, Jason Pyle, has donated exclusively to Democratic campaigns, candidates and committees -- and his company's website reads like a satellite White House communications office:
-- "President Obama Announces $14 Million Funding Opportunity To Develop Transportation Fuels from Algae";
-- "President Obama's Secure Energy Blueprint -- Industry Reaction";
-- "Obama Defends Energy Policy, Hitting Back At Presidential Candidates."
Another prominent DOE recipient in the world of blue-green sludge? San Francisco-based Solazyme. The manufacturer of algae-based renewable fuels has scooped up more than $21 million in federal stimulus grants and contracts. Solazyme's ties to the White House and the Democratic establishment in Washington are myriad. As blogger J.E. Dyer at HotAir.com (which I founded in 2006 and sold in 2010) reported in December, Solazyme's "strategic advisers" include TJ Glauthier -- a member of the Obama presidential transition team who just happened to work "on the energy-sector portion of the 2009 stimulus bill."
Andrew Stiles of the Washington Free Beacon writes that Glauthier:
"serves on the board of EnerNOC Inc., a company that provides demand-response services to electric utility firms. EnerNOC won a $10 million contract with the Department of Energy Resources in 2010 despite being underbid by competitors, the Boston Herald reported. Glauthier also served on the board of SunRun, a solar financing company that received a $6.7 million federal grant in 2010."
And in total, Glauthier adds, "Solazyme officials including Glauthier have contributed at least $360,000 to Democrats since 2007."
Wait, that's not all. The head of Solazyme's Washington lobbying office is Drew Littman, former chief of staff for Democratic Sen. Al Franken. Littman's old pal, entrenched D.C. lobbyist and Obama appointee Michael Meehan, feted Littman earlier this year and bragged that "we couldn't be more thrilled to be working on a daily basis with Drew and the Solazyme team."
Thanks to one of President Obama's executive orders, Solazyme secured a $12 million contract with the U.S. Navy to unload hundreds of thousands of gallons of biofuel -- priced at an estimated four to seven times the normal cost of regular jet fuel.
This self-sustaining crony ecosystem, powered by administrative fiat and wealth redistribution, gives new meaning to the phrase "green crude."
>>It is not a subsidy if the users are charged the cost
And the SDS associated storm-water “fee” wasn’t a “tax” - according to the local “little Chicago” good-ol-boy kleptocrats. Riiiiiight.
"The smooth-talking, beefy and blustery Aries was bankrolled by a 10-year, $104 million non-recourse loan (he had no personal liability to repay it) from Western Savings and Loan of Phoenix, Arizonas largest S&L.[snip]
A year later, Aries bought the 3,631-acre Colorado Centre development, adjacent to the ranch, from L-P Associates for $41.3 million.
The purchase was funded by a $33.3 million loan from Western Savings, which had already loaned out millions for casino projects in Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
Eventually, Aries loans were reported at $240 million total.
In Colorado Springs, his golden touch spread far and wide.
Aries convinced the Colorado Springs School, an exclusive prekindergarten through 12th grade private school on Broadmoor Avenue, to allow his son to attend without paying tuition on the promise that he would construct a new building for the school.
A lot of people thought he was a great guy, said long-time Colorado Springs resident John Daly. When his son was to have his bar mitzvah, Aries held a big breakfast in the main dining room at the Broadmoor for business associates and all sorts of people. Then they all got aboard several buses and went to Denver for the bar mitzvah.
Persuaded by Aries that a master plan and annexation would cause the value of Banning Lewis Ranch to skyrocket, Western Savings agreed to open a line of credit to finance the master plan.
The plan included 25,000 homes, golf courses, a new headquarters for the U.S. Space Foundation, a $3 million IMAX theater, a high-tech Olympic Hall of Fame; and a $35 million eight-lane thoroughfare, called the Banning-Lewis Parkway, running north and south through the property.
In 1988, Aries convinced the Colorado Springs City Council to annex his property. Mayor Robert Isaac was one of two who voted against annexation. The Councils other seven members eagerly voted yes. It was the largest annexation in the states history.
If he couldnt stop annexation fever, Isaac extracted a pound of flesh by requiring an annual $250,000 payment to the city for providing services to land that remained undeveloped until 2007.
He (Aries) was a real showman, no question about it, and arrogant, too. He demanded the Council annex Banning Lewis Ranch, Daly said.
Annexation was supposed to create a flock of eager developers wanting to buy parts of the ranch. They would propel the value of Banning Lewis Ranch to the moon. Aries would then be able to sell part of the ranch and pay off his loans.
Those developers never materialized, and Aries house of cards collapsed a year after annexation.
He defaulted on his loans and deeded the ranch back to Western Savings.
Ultra Lays Out Drilling Plans for Banning Lewis Ranchby Andrew Wineke|The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colorado)|Thursday, March 22, 2012
"...We can't reach that from Banning Lewis," he said. "We'd have to set up in a school playground. That's a joke - if there are any members of the media here, that was only a joke. If there's no surface access, we don't get too excited about it."
In Greeley, where there are more than 400 wells inside the city limits, big oil companies have avoided densely populated areas, but smaller companies have found a profitable niche working through the challenges of drilling near residential areas.
Kent Rogers, Ultra's vice president of drilling, said the company has secured private water sources for its drilling operations. He would not say where the water came from...
"Just a Joke" Uhuh.
Municipalities have built water systems, sewer systems, etc and charged the users for what? a hundred years or two?
How do you want it done? Give it away for free?
>>How do you want it done?
With the permission of the voting public - and not shoved up our arse by a bunch of crony good-ol-boys riding the Enterprise gravy train.
I’ve gotta ask....won’t this affect our precious ‘wet lands’ adversely? Call the EPA!