Blog

Taxpayers Protection Alliance
Facebook     Twitter     Youtube

Blog

Category: Energy



  • Rooftop Solar Panels Facing the Wrong Way and Many Questions

    Sean Paige on December 23, 2014

    solar

    This article originally appeared in Inside Sources on December 16, 2014

    Sean Paige is a senior fellow with the Taxpayers Protection Alliance “Oops. I think we put those solar panels on the wrong way.” That isn’t something most Americans want to hear when their friendly neighborhood solar technician climbs down the ladder after installing a rooftop solar system that may take twenty or thirty years to pay-off. But it turns out that most rooftop solar systems may be “on the wrong way,” even if they’ve been perfectly and professionally installed, if they face south rather than west, which an estimated nine out of ten do. The recent rush to pave-over every American rooftop with solar panels has one major flaw, according to emerging new thinking in the field. Most of these systems face south, when pointing them west makes much more sense. It’s a case of misdirection, literally, that’s all too typical of the fly-by-night way this industry is evolving.

    » Read More
  • TPA Joins Nationwide Coalition Opposing New EPA Regulations on Energy

    Michi Iljazi on December 8, 2014

    epa
    EPA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

    TPA has been a vocal critic of the regulatory power grab under many federal agencies. Whether it’s the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Federal Election Commission (FEC), or even the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). One agency that has been a chief culprit in using the power of regulations to bypass Congress enacting harmful new rules is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Recently, in an effort led by American Commitment, TPA joined a wide range of groups led by at the state and federal level sending a coalition letter that urged state elected officials fight the EPA's new regulations designed to bring harmful anti-energy policies into the states using the apparent Clean Power Plan. These new regulations would burden states and cost jobs at a time when our economy is still fragile.

    To read the full letter, click 'read more' below » Read More
  • How Taxpayers Can Get Burned by Solar Scams

    Sean Paige on December 4, 2014

    solar

    (This article originally appeared in the Ahwatukee Foothills News on November 22, 2014.  Sean Paige is a senior fellow with the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.)
    “Buyer beware” is always a good rule of thumb when weighing some “deal” that seems too good to be true. But it should be “taxpayer beware” or “ratepayer beware” when the “deal” in question involves a solar power system, since the bargain being offered often involves pilfering from one pocket (taxpayers) to fill another (solar power companies). The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has been doing extensive research into the shadier side of solar energy. And one of many questionable practices we’ve seen is how some politically-connected solar companies have found sly ways to pocket tax credits for themselves that should be going to their customers. Here’s how the “deal” works. These companies discovered that if they lease rooftop solar systems, rather than sell them outright — something that appeals to homeowners confronted with the steep up-front costs of such systems — the companies themselves can claim the federal tax credits, as well as all state and local incentives that are being offered. They’re sometimes double- and triple-dipping, raking-in taxpayer money not just from Washington, D.C., but from state or local governments that offer subsidies. They’ve tapped a steady stream of taxpayer dollars to keep themselves afloat. And their growing army of lobbyists won’t surrender that revenue stream willingly, meaning the funds could keep flowing long after this industry should be standing on its own.

    » Read More
  • Lifting Crude Oil Export Ban Would Boost Economy, Jobs, and Security

    David Williams on November 7, 2014

    oil

    This article appeared in Inside Sources on November 5, 2014

    Gas prices are the lowest Americans have seen in quite some time. This is partly due to the basic principle that as supplies rise prices fall. And in the past few years we have seen supplies of both oil and gas increase substantially in this country, as we are using new technology to reach energy resources that were previously unavailable to us. Add in discoveries in shale formations across the country and we can see how truly blessed we are. What many may not know is that America recently became the world’s top producer of natural gas, and soon the U.S. may pass Saudi Arabia in oil production. This is a significant turn of events that very few people could have imagined over the past 40 years. During the oil crisis of the 1970s, we found out just how dependent we were on foreign oil. Americans lined up at gas stations, canceled vacations and watched gas prices rise, along with the cost of just about every product that required transportation or depended upon petroleum. Yet now with low prices and abundant resources, our policies should reflect this changing landscape of energy development. A positive step is that just last week, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) wrote in a letter to Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz that “some policy provisions put in place as recently as 2007 are now at best irrelevant, or at worst detrimental, to national environmental and economic goals.”

    » Read More
  • Oregon LEEDing The Way To Break The Timber Certification Monopoly

    David Williams on October 7, 2014

    This article originally appeared in The Daily Caller on October 1, 2014

    The deeply forested state of Oregon may have been in the final one-third of states to join the Union in the latter half of the 19th century, but today the state rates among the very first in the nation working to dismantle the certification monopoly that for decades has quietly strangled America’s timber industry and unnecessarily burdened taxpayers. Last week, under the direction of Gov. John Kitzhaber, the Oregon Department of Forestry released a new white paper examining the economic impact of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program’s prejudices against the state’s two prevailing timber certification standards, the American Tree Farm System and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). LEED, the green building standard of choice for some 34 state governments and 440 municipalities across the country, plus more than a dozen federal agencies, awards its “green” construction points only for the sourcing of timber certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The other two are left in the cold.

    » Read More
  • Solar Power Burns More Than The Birds

    David Williams and Michi Iljazi on September 26, 2014

    solar

    This article originally appeared in The Daily Press on September 19, 2014

    Many California taxpayers probably don’t realize that they are paying for the subsidization of solar energy, whether or not they even use solar power. This is happening because of government incentives that were created through a tax credit for the owners of solar panels. The biggest concern with the program is that rooftop solar companies have found a way to claim the tax credit for themselves. These companies discovered that if they lease the rooftop solar systems to homeowners, the companies retain ownership of the solar panels, thereby claiming the federal tax credit as well as all state and local incentives. Homeowners share responsibility because they need to be aware that any contracts they sign affect their homes, but solar panel companies count on consumer laziness to grow their business.

    » Read More
  • Reform the Tax Code to Spur New Energy Industry Expansion

    David Williams on September 25, 2014

    oil

    This article orginally appeared on Pennlive.com on September 18, 2014

    The U.S. economy has gained real steam in recent months. Last quarter, the groos domestic product grew at a very solid 4 percent. And, the most recent jobs report shows that the job market added nearly 210,000 positions in July. The energy industry is a major contributor to this revival. American oil and natural gas businesses are in the midst of an unprecedented blossoming. In fact, the United States recently surpassed Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the number one energy producer in the world. Federal lawmakers need to be wary of undermining this success. Destructive policies can stifle energy industry expansion and choke off the creation of new employment opportunities and general economic growth.

    » Read More
  • Rooftop Solar Companies Cash In on Government Handouts

    David Williams on August 4, 2014

    obamasolar

    This article originally appeared on Townhall.com on July 24, 2014

    You can’t help but hand it to them – rooftop solar companies have quite cleverly found their way onto the government’s gravy train. For years Washington has subsidized rooftop solar installations for customersin the form of the Solar Investment Tax Credit, which allows homeowners who install rooftop solar panels to receive a tax credit of up to 30 percent of the cost. The subsidy has been one of the many ongoing ways in which the feds insert themselves into the energy marketplace. And while it has hampered efforts to achieve real energy independence in the U.S., and has therefore caused real harm to our economy, it nevertheless has met a legitimate need for homeowners desperate for some relief from high energy costs. But rooftop solar companies – most of which, like SolarCity, Corp., are political connected and favored – have created a scheme to claim the tax credit for themselves. These companies discovered that if they lease the rooftop solar systems to homeowners, the companies themselves can claim the federal tax credit as well as all state and local incentives.

    » Read More
  • New Obama Energy Regulations Are a Bad Idea in an Already Weak Economy

    David Williams on June 2, 2014

    Today the Obama Administration proposed a new rule from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about greenhouse gases from existing power plants.  Taxpayers and consumers should be concerned that these new, intrusive regulations would serve only to hinder the production of energy here in the United States and weaken an already vulnerable economy.  The Taxpayers Protection Alliance warned about the harmful impact of new regulations last month in an op-ed when we wrote, “President Obama has broken many promises during his first and second terms in office. But, in a sad twist of irony for taxpayers and energy production, the president is intent on keeping one of his 2008 campaign promises, to bankrupt coal plants and force electricity prices to “necessarily skyrocket.” After legislative attempts to pass cap-and-trade failed in the Democrat-controlled Congress in 2009, the president made clear that “cap-and-trade was just one way to skin the cat.” The other way: have unelected bureaucrats and attorneys at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulate coal out of business. The EPA has since taken measures to stop coal plant production by requiring new plants to use cost-prohibitive carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology – tech that is only affordable with large taxpayer subsidies. The only plant currently under construction with CCS will receive $400 million in grants and federal tax credits to offset the more than $1 billion price tag for what is unproven technology. That model is unsustainable.”

    » Read More
  • Congress Watch: Keystone Pipeline and the Obstructionist Senate

    Joe Jansen on May 12, 2014

    The purpose, consistency, rules, and roles of the United States Senate and House of Representatives are different for a reason.  When each body works in the ways intended by the Founding Fathers, Congress can get things done.  Last week was a great example of what happens when both bodies attempt to operate under the rules of the House of Representatives.  The House consists of 435 members.  Each is elected every two years by constituents limited to a specific geographic space.  The majority of these constituents share interests and ideology, thus narrowing the diversity of opinion within individual districts.  Members of the House of Representatives are supposed to be closer to the people and more apt to be inflamed by political passions.  Its internal rules reflect this purpose while bending to practicality.  Without a rigid set of rules and a top down power structure, it would be difficult to get anything done.  Acting more like a House Speaker than Senate Majority Leader, Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada) used procedural maneuvers to block Senators from offering any amendments to the energy bill.  In exchange for agreeing to forego the opportunity to offer amendments on the first energy bill considered by the Senate in seven years, the Majority Leader proposed allowing a vote to mandate construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.  Republicans refused, insisting that they be allowed to offer five energy-related amendments to the underlying bill.  Unmoved, Majority Leader Reid has scheduled a cloture vote for this afternoon on the energy efficiency bill.  It is possible, but unlikely, that cloture will be invoked.

    » Read More
  • Congress Watch: Keystone Pipeline and the Senate

    Joe Jansen on May 6, 2014

    As the Senate debated its budget resolution last March, an amendment in support of the Keystone XL pipeline was offered and 62 Senators voted in favor of it.  And, polls indicate that 65% of the American people support the Keystone XL pipeline project.   So, it seems simple, as the Senate considers bipartisan energy efficiency legislation this week, it seems only natural that there would finally be a vote to get the project moving.  But, that would be too easy, and require the one the thing that Washington has the biggest deficit of, common sense. First, it is important to understand the facts about the pipeline. The proposed pipeline, which would carry roughly 700,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the Gulf Coast, would encompass 1,700 miles and cost approximately $7 billion.  The pipeline would be an extension of one that became operational in 2010. Most importantly, the pipeline will be a job creator, critical for a country struggling to come out of a recession.  According to the Heritage Foundation, “Building the pipeline would directly create 20,000 truly shovel-ready jobs; the Canadian Energy Research Institute estimates that current pipeline operations and the addition of the Keystone XL pipeline would create 179,000 American jobs by 2035.” This would mean a broader tax base and increased revenue to the government without raising taxes.  Also, more people collecting a paycheck means fewer people collecting unemployment benefits.

    » Read More
  • President Obama’s Anti-Coal Crusade Is Harming The Economy, Security

    David Williams on May 2, 2014

    epa

    This article originally appeared in The Daily Caller on April 30, 2014

    President Obama has broken many promises during his first and second terms in office. But, in a sad twist of irony for taxpayers and energy production, the president is intent on keeping one of his 2008 campaign promises, to bankrupt coal plants and force electricity prices to “necessarily skyrocket.” After legislative attempts to pass cap-and-trade failed in the Democrat-controlled Congress in 2009, the president made clear that “cap-and-trade was just one way to skin the cat.” The other way: have unelected bureaucrats and attorneys at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulate coal out of business.The EPA has since taken measures to stop coal plant production by requiring new plants to use cost-prohibitive carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology – tech that is only affordable with large taxpayer subsidies. The only plant currently under construction with CCS will receive $400 million in grants and federal tax credits to offset the more than $1 billion price tag for what is unproven technology. That model is unsustainable. Now, the EPA is working on round two of its regulatory assault, which “would put limits on carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal-fired power plants.” Already, the Department of Energy estimates that EPA’s earlier power plant rule could force several hundred coal-powered electricity plants to close. The result: 32 million households would find themselves without a reliable source of energy production. By 2025, the situation will become more dire as nearly all coal plants will be forced out of business, robbing 33 states of 44,000 megawatts of electricity.

    » Read More
  • New Report Gives More to Reason to Be Wary of LEED Standards

    Michi Iljazi on March 11, 2014

    usgbc

    Here we go again.  The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has been writing about the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards for a long time.  In what seemed to big news, there was a report earlier this year that the Washington, D.C. area has led the nation in LEED certification.  This was according to stats based on a per-capita ranking.  But, a new report shows that being at the top on a LEED-based list may not be as prestigious or beneficial as many would have you believe. Research by the Environmental Policy Alliance found that the city that has the most LEED-certified buildings doesn’t necessarily make it the most efficient. In an analysis of initial energy use data, the free-market organization concluded that the buildings in DC with LEED certification are actually using more energy. This is in direct contradiction to the argument that LEED proponents have been giving for years. The entire system is based upon the goal that being LEED certified is all about being a more energy efficient. The report, released by the Environmental Policy Alliance at the end of February, certainly dispels the myth that the business model used by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), the private environmental group responsible for LEED, actually works. The report also appears to confirm a recent analysis by the Washington Examiner about LEED buildings in DC that was published earlier this year.

     

    » Read More
  • LEED Standards Continue to be Discriminatory to Forestry Industry

    David Williams on February 26, 2014

    leedmap
    Infographic above shows how LEED standards discriminate against Forestry

    The Taxpayers Protection Alliance has highlighted how the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building certification system increases construction costs without guaranteeing greater energy efficiency.   TPA has also explained how policies enforcing LEED standards unfairly discriminate against timber harvested from millions of acres of responsibly managed American forestland. Specifically, LEED standards award a credit for certified wood to encourage sound management of forests.  LEED, however, only recognizes timber certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an international organization with standards that vary greatly.  As a general matter, its standards are more stringent in the U.S., while significantly less stringent abroad – where 90 percent of FSC’s certified land can be found. Competing programs such as the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and the American Tree Farm System (ATFS) enforce uniform standards, but they are not recognized by LEED, and timber harvested from forests certified by SFI and ATFS can get blocked from LEED projects. It doesn’t make sense how an organization or government agency can defend a framework that considers wood harvested in (and transported from) Russia and Brazil under lax standards more “green” than wood harvested in the U.S. under stricter standards.  Taxpayers shouldn’t be subsidizing public building and renovation projects that use foreign timber while discriminating against American wood.

    » Read More
  • LEED Certification is a Scam

    David Williams on February 20, 2014

    usgbc

    This article originally appeared in The Daily Caller on January 24, 2014

    Despite their costly taxpayer-funded certification as green, government buildings in Washington, DC registered among the least energy-efficient structures in the nation according to a new analysis last week. The District of Columbia, like 440 other municipalities across the country and more than a dozen federal agencies, requires new or renovated government structures be certified by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. The pursuit of this certification increases construction costs up to ten percent but in return the standard is said to create more sustainable structures.  And this increase in cost is passed on to taxpayers. In the case of DC’s government buildings, though, they’re not very sustainable, according to data culled by the Washington Examiner. Not sustainable, just costly. The Examiner sampled energy efficiency ratings, as measured by the EnergyStar scale, of government structures in DC that had been certified green by LEED. EnergyStar’s scale runs between 1 and 100, where 100 is the greatest possible measure of efficiency and 1 is the poorest. The analysis revealed that DC government structures that measured a 3 on the scale somehow managed to achieve LEED certification. It makes you wonder what taxpayers are getting in return. According to the Examiner, “In addition to some particularly atrocious energy hogs curiously receiving high LEED ratings, in general, government buildings built to LEED specifications in D.C. do not perform any better than non-LEED structure.” In addition, “The median EnergyStar score among the first group was 28, insignificantly higher than the median non-LEED score of 26.5. The bottom quarter of LEED buildings actually performed worse than the bottom quarter of non-LEED ones.”

    » Read More
  • New Report Casts Doubt on Obama Administration's 'Social Cost of Carbon'

    Michi Iljazi on February 18, 2014

    obama

    The Obama Administration is extremely aggressive when it comes to the issue of promoting and picking winners and losers.  This attitude is most apparent when it comes to the energy industry. The Obama administration has been “all-in” when it comes to green energy scams like Solyndra. Their push for more LEED certification of federal buildings is just another way that special interests are promoted in the Obama presidency, regardless of the cost-benefit ration for. Last Fall, TPA wrote about the Obama Administration’s new regulatory push called ‘social cost of carbon’ and how the President (as he has done many time before) was using federal agencies to carry out policies through regulatory means that he would otherwise not be able to get through congress. According to Reason, the social cost of carbon refers to “the economic and ecological damage caused each time we add a ton of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels.” The hitch is that is the figures were put together in 2010 by the White House Interagency Working Group using questionable computer models and outdated information with which projections were being based upon to reach a cost assessment. The original estimation by the group and agreed upon by the Administration was recently revised upwards setting off a chain reaction that has put this issue at the forefront in Congress as many members view this as just another way to burden businesses, consumers, and taxpayers with needless and counterproductive regulations. Now, a new report released by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity has completely ripped apart the narrative that the White House has tried to stick with when it comes to their ‘social cost of carbon’ program.

    » Read More
  • TPA Responds to the 2014 State of the Union Address

    David Williams on January 29, 2014

    In his fifth State of the Union address, President Obama reiterated familiar themes that have resulted in a slow economic recovery over the past 5 years.  In a new and reckless move, President Obama promised to use his Executive power to enact initiatives that Congress wouldn’t pass such as a move to increase the minimum wage for federal contractors. This establishes a bad precedent that circumvents the system of checks and balances. The biggest missed opportunity was that there was no mention of how to rein in government spending.  In fact, the President seemed to suggest more spending on projects that could be classified as corporate welfare when noted that, “Federally-funded research helped lead to the ideas and inventions behind Google and smartphones.  That’s why Congress should undo the damage done by last year’s cuts to basic research so we can unleash the next great American discovery – whether it’s vaccines that stay ahead of drug-resistant bacteria, or paper-thin material that’s stronger than steel.“ One of the most bizarre parts of the President’s speech was his attack on last year’s sequestration (automatic spending cuts).  The President signed the Budget Control Act of 2011 which created sequestration.  If the President didn’t like sequestration, he shouldn’t have signed it into law.  Now, he has been left with no real plan to cut spending. President Obama mentioned Obamacare and the millions that have enrolled since the launch.  Obama did not mention the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on a broken website or the millions of Americans that lost their healthcare insurance due to Obamacare.  Millions of Americans found out the hard way last year that President Obama’s promise that “if you like your healthcare coverage, you can keep it,” was just a good talking point and not the truth.

    » Read More
  • Hydraulic Fracturing Good for Taxpayers and a Key Component to Energy Independence

    Michi Iljazi on January 7, 2014

    Energy independence and production has an impact on taxpayers, families, consumers, and small business owners. How America produces energy, the kinds of energy that are used, and where the United States receives imported energy resources from can all be linked together and have a collective effect on the economy and American citizens. And, an improving economy helps taxpayers with more people employed (fewer unemployment benefits) and increased tax revenue.  One controversial area of how to improve the economy is Hydraulic Fracturing (aka fracking). Fracking is a way of extracting natural gas from shale rock layers deep within the earth. This process makes it possible to produce natural gas extraction were it may have been unreachable in the past with conventional procedures and technologies. There has been a fierce debate amongst many on both sides of the issue and as the technology becomes more commonplace the debate will grow. Letting the market dictate winners and losers is the best approach to make energy more affordable and more abundant. Fracking is one aspect of that approach and the economic impact is quite revealing.  For example,  according to a report from IHS Global Insights, 1.7 million new jobs will be created by fracking, injecting billions of dollars into several state economies.

    » Read More
  • TPA's New Year's Resolutions for 2014

    David Williams & Michi Iljazi on December 31, 2013

    nye

    Every New Year millions of Americans resolve to change their ways and improve their lives by making New Year’s resolutions such as losing weight or changing their behavior to live a healthier lifestyle.  In the spirit of those resolutions, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) urges Congress and the whole federal government to resolve to go on a fiscal diet and change their wasteful spending and regulatory habits.  And, we will be following up on each and every one of these issues (and more) in 2014. The list TPA put together includes a wide range of issues that lawmakers have been involved with and the need for action on many of these is more than obivious. The issues include: Telecommunications/Technology, Defense, Taxes, Energy, and Wasteful Spending.

    Click 'read more' below to see the full list of TPA's New Years Resolutions for 2014!

    » Read More
  • TPA's New Years Resolutions for 2014

    David Williams & Michi Iljazi on December 27, 2013

    new years

    Every New Year millions of Americans resolve to change their ways and improve their lives by making New Year’s resolutions such as losing weight or changing their behavior to live a healthier lifestyle.  In the spirit of those resolutions, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) urges Congress and the whole federal government to resolve to go on a fiscal diet and change their wasteful spending and regulatory habits.  And, we will be following up on each and every one of these issues (and more) in 2014. The list TPA put together includes a wide range of issues that lawmakers have been involved with and the need for action on many of these is more than obivious. The issues include: Telecommunications/Technology, Defense, Taxes, Energy, and Wasteful Spending.

    Click 'read more' below to see the full list of TPA's New Years Resolutions for 2014!

     

    » Read More
<< 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 >>