Big Nonprofits and Big Utilities Can Thank Big Climate

by Paul Chesser, Heartland Institute Correspondent on September 23, 2009

Two good pieces of work at the Washington Examiner today about those who profit from a carbon-capping economy:

1. David Freddoso provides a sampling of salaries of executives at some top environmental activist nonprofits, including Environmental Defense, World Wildlife Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, Nature Conservancy, National Wildlife Federation, and others. I’ve done some of this kind of thing in this space in the past, but David offers a handy list.

2. Reporter Tim Carney explains why some of the nation’s largest utilities, responsible for burning large percentages of our overall coal consumption, lobby in favor of the Waxman-Markey cap-and-tax bill despite the certain increased costs it will spur. The main utility under Carney’s scrutiny is American Electric Power:

Waxman-Markey would give away 85 percent of the credits initially, allocating the credits among different industries. AEP, a diverse company, might be able to tap three of the bill’s piles of free credits — the 30 percent going to electricity distributors, the 2 percent going to electric utilities, and the 5 percent going to merchant coal generators.

While AEP would get credits for free, that doesn’t mean they’re worthless. If the company has more credits than emissions, AEP could sell these credits to needy companies. That means Waxman-Markey could spell profits.

Also, because much of AEP’s business is as a regulated utility — meaning it effectively faces no competition, and the state government sets its rates — some of its costs can be passed onto consumers.

Carney goes on to document AEP’s eleven-fold increase in lobbying expenses since the beginning of 2007. Now, as Marlo Lewis so excellently explained yesterday, they are “reaping what they sowed.”

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: