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Update on Green Stimulus: It Still Stinks

The Obama/Pelosi green stimulus is taking shape as it winds two paths through the House and the Senate. Both chambers agree with President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s staff that the government should shower winners in the renewable energy industry with about $30 billion in taxpayer money. The well paid lobbyists for wind and solar energy producers deserve a round of applause—they did a great job. There is, however, one small kink: The House and Senate disagree on how to give this money away. According to E&E News, legislators on the House side want to fund up to 30 % of the construction of renewable energy projects using grants, or direct give-aways. On the Senate side, leading members of the party in power are indicating that grants are an inappropriate mechanism to pick winners and losers in the energy business. They would prefer some other pork delivery format, probably a refundable tax credit, which is but a grant by another name. The only good news is that the House and Senate have a history of jurisdictional disputes over give-aways to the renewable energy industry. Maybe they’ll get so worked up with territoriality that they’ll prove resistant to compromise, and this crummy green stimulus package will die.