Friday, August 10, 2012

Gov. Pat Quinn Vetoes Corrupt Coal Gasification Deal Indiana Approved

It's obvious that Leucadia National Corp. doesn't have Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn in its back pocket like it has Gov. Mitch Daniels, whose administration is forcing a coal gasification deal that will yield sweet profits for the politically-connected company at the expense of Hoosier gas consumers. Today, Gov. Quinn vetoed legislation that would have put Ameren and Nicor customers on the hook for about $3 billion in construction and maintenance costs for a coal gasification plant proposed by Leucadia in Chicago. Under the legislation, Ameren and Nucor would have been forced to sign contracts to purchase natural gas from Leucadia for a 30-year period at rates potentially higher than they could acquire natural gas on the open market.

Last year, Gov. Quinn amendatorily vetoed legislation successfully pushed through the Illinois legislature by Leucadia, which placed a cap on rate increases to soften the blow to consumers. Two other Chicago area utilities, however, dropped plans to purchase natural gas from Leucadia, and the Illinois Commerce Commission ruled that Leucadia couldn't force the two remaining utilities to pick up the construction tab for its coal gasification plant. Leucadia then went back to the legislature and won approval to force the utilities to pick up the $3 billion tab to build their new synthetic natural gas plant. Here's Quinn's comments on his veto, as well as a comment from the Illinois Manufacturer's Association.
“That is not a fair deal for ratepayers,” Quinn wrote.
The governor also noted that the country is in the midst of a natural gas boom that has resulted in historically low prices, and “many indicators suggest prices will remain low for years to come.”
“These new facts require further scrutiny and a revisiting of the economics of this 30-year project,” Quinn said . . .  
“We’re pleased that Gov. Quinn heard the calls of so many across Illinois to veto this bill and adamantly reject one of the most unnecessary, massive rate hikes on consumers in state history,” said Mark Denzler, vice president and chief operating officer of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, in a statement. “We now must educate legislators on why they should not buy into this boondoggle again if it comes up for a vote during veto session.”
It's too bad there wasn't anyone in Indiana with the fortitude to stand up to the corrupt deal that gas customers of Vectren will be paying dearly for in the years to come.  The only thing Gov. Daniels seemed to care about was making sure that his good friend Mark Lubbers became a multi-millionaire helping Leucadia out in its effort to build its new plant at Rockport on the backs of Indiana gas consumers, assuming the Obama administration is stupid enough to approve federal loan guarantees for the company to build the plant after all of the other publicly-subsidized alternative energy projects it has approved during the past four years universally failed. Duke customers are already shouldering the expenses of a $3 billion coal gasification plant boondoggle at Edwardsport thanks to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, which was originally suppose to cost about half that amount. Crony capitalism rules the day.

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