Once more the good people of Iowa seem set for shucking like an ear of corn.
Last week (see below, July 3) brought the story of a shaky federal stimulus program to provide Lee County, Iowa with a 1.3 billion dollar, taxpayer-secured private nitrogen fertilizer plant, a deal in which the Egyptian owners are putting up only $70 million. The Wall Street Journal tells us this week of another likely hornswaggle, also in Iowa. This time it is in West Branch, boyhood home of (let us recall) Herbert Hoover, U.S. President at the start of the Great Depression.
Acciona Windpower generators are being produced in West Branch, but the national market is not promising. The reason is that wind power is out of breath. Slower than the Chevy Volt assembly line--where California state rebates at least keep the cars moving a bit. The only thing sustaining the wind power market is a two cents a kilowatt hour federal credit and that ends December 31. Already the expectation at Acciona Windpower is that "installations of new equipment could fall by as much as 90% next year."
Republican as well as Democratic officials in Iowa think the taxpayer subsidies should continue. It is not known how they stand on Obama Administration efforts to prevent a privately funded natural gas pipeline from Canada that would go through neighboring Nebraska. The Keystone XL Pipeline project would provide reliable energy, jobs and substantial tax revenue. Without the federal bucks, all the wind mills generate is unsteady energy, eye-popping visual blight on the horizon and bird kills; oh, and more government debt.