Green Scissors Pushes DOE to Drop Texas CCS Project before Deadline
On Thursday, the Green Scissors coalition renewed its efforts to get the Department of Energy to make the responsible decision to withdraw support for the Texas Clean Energy Project.
A letter the group sent to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and the accompanying press release are available below.
For immediate release: May 26, 2016
Strange bedfellows push Moniz to drop CCS plant ahead of key deadline
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Green Scissors – a coalition of free-market, taxpayer and environmental groups – today sent a letter to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz calling on the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to withdraw support permanently from the Texas Clean Energy Project, a proposed carbon-capture-and-sequestration facility in Penwell, Texas.
The long-troubled facility was the subject of a recent special report from the Department of Energy Inspector General's Office. The report revealed that while the facility was stalled in its initial design stage and unable to secure private financing, the DOE circumvented its own rules and improperly spent $100 million ahead of schedule.
Despite the loss of an estimated $116 million in taxpayer funds so far, DOE recently extended the expiring cooperative agreement with the facility to July 1, 2016. Although the remaining $220 million earmarked for the facility was suspended in February, extending the cooperative agreement leaves open the possibility that additional funds could be distributed at a later date. Today's letter from Green Scissors calls for the immediate termination of the cooperative agreement and the withdrawal of all remaining funds.
“The DOE has spent more than $100 million of taxpayer funds chasing an elusive breakthrough in carbon capture and sequestration rather than filling the much more appropriate role of funding basic research. This isn't an innovation strategy. This is a boondoggle,” said Catrina Rorke, director of energy policy at the R Street Institute.
“It is outrageous that DOE continues to dangle cash at the Texas Clean Energy Project. Taxpayers have already lost $100 million to that black hole,” said Autumn Hanna, senior program director at Taxpayers for Common Sense. “Like FutureGen and other CCS endeavors before it, this project shows no signs of success. It is past time for DOE to end the gravy train of subsidies.”
“Shoveling more tax dollars at this false solution is no answer to the climate crisis,” said Lukas Ross, climate and energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth. “How many more lifelines does Secretary Moniz intend on throwing to this boondoggle?”
The Green Scissors coalition has consistently opposed subsidies for CCS on fiscal and environmental grounds. This includes stimulus funding for struggling facilities like FutureGen 2.0 and Hydrogen Energy California, as well as ongoing efforts to extend and expand tax credits for capturing CO2.
Communications contact: Kate Colwell, (202) 222-0744, email@example.com
Green Scissors Letter to Secretary Moniz and the DOE Office of Fossil Energy
Coalition Urges DOE to Withdraw Funding from Troubled Texas CCS Project
On Friday, the Gren Scissors coalition sent a letter to Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, imploring him to permanently withdraw funding for the Texas Clean Energy Project. The letter and accompanying press release are available below.
For immediate release: 13 May 2016
Left-Right Coalition pushes Moniz on Carbon Capture giveaway
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Texas Clean Energy Project—a long-troubled carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) facility planned for Penwell, Texas—faces the expiration of its cooperative agreement with the Department of Energy. Green Scissors, a coalition of free market, taxpayer, and environmental groups dedicated to eliminating government waste that is harmful to the environment, has demanded that the Department of Energy permanently withdraw funding from the facility.
A recent Special Report from the Department of Energy’s own Inspector General highlights improprieties in how federal funds were spent on the project. Although a total of $450 million was allocated for it, the Department of Energy established caps for how much could be spent in each of the project’s four stages. However, the Special Report reveals that the Department of Energy broke its own rules, spending over $100 million ahead of schedule—all while the project was stalled in the initial design stage and unable to secure financing.
Although the Department of Energy made the decision in February to suspend funding, by extending the project’s cooperative agreement to May 13, the Department left open the possibility of future outlays to the Texas facility. There is still another $220 million earmarked for the project—funds that Green Scissors recently called on [hyperlink] Secretary Moniz to permanently withdraw.
“This administration has prioritized an elusive breakthrough in developing carbon capture and sequestration over their commitment to the taxpayer. A successful innovation strategy is driven by filling the basic research gaps the market can't meet, not chasing preordained solutions with wasteful spending,” said Catrina Rorke, director of energy policy at the R Street Institute.
“It’s time for DOE to stop bending over backwards to accommodate this flailing project,” said Autumn Hanna, senior program director at Taxpayers for Common Sense. “Taxpayers have already lost $116 million, and the absolute least DOE can do is learn from their costly mistakes and prevent taxpayers from losing more after Summit misses its deadline this Friday.”
“Wasting our tax dollars on projects like the Texas boondoggle is not the answer to the climate crisis,” said Lukas Ross, climate and energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth. “Secretary Moniz needs to pull the plug before this false solution gets more of our money,”
The Green Scissors coalition has consistently opposed subsidies for CCS on fiscal and environmental grounds. This includes stimulus funding for struggling facilities like FutureGen 2.0 and Hydrogen Energy California as well as ongoing efforts to extend and expand tax credits for capturing CO2.
Keep Heitkamp CCS Amendment Out of FAA Bill
During debate on a bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Senator Heitkamp has proposed an amendment to increase a tax break for carbon capture and sequestration. In response, the Green Scissors Coalition has issued the following press release:
April 13, 2016
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Green Scissors, a coalition of free market, taxpayer, and environmental groups, sent a letter to the Senate today (see below) opposing an extension and expansion of the tax credits for carbon capture and sequestration. The letter cited both fiscal and environmental concerns in opposing Senator Heitkamp’s amendment on the 45Q tax credit as part of a proposed Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization.
Although the measure faces an uncertain future as part of the FAA bill, Senator Heitkamp’s amendment is part of a concerted effort by industry and some environmentalists to expand the 45Q tax credit. The effort is mirrored in the House by Rep. Conaway’s HR4622.
“Private investment in clean coal is the only way to ensure that these technologies will find a place in the future energy market,” said Catrina Rorke, director of energy policy at the R Street Institute. “We talk a lot about not using tax policy to pick energy winners. The same should apply here.”
“Taxpayers cannot afford to keep throwing good money after bad on clean coal. Subsidies for this failed technology have wasted billions of dollars over the last few decades,” said Autumn Hanna, senior program director at Taxpayers for Common Sense. “Whether it's on the FAA bill, some end of year omnibus package or another bill, lawmakers should reject this proven money loser."
“We are calling this plan what it is,” said Lukas Ross, a climate and energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth, “A subsidy for Big Oil masquerading as a climate solution.”
Letter to DOE: Keep Cutting CCS Funding
After cutting funding for FutureGen, DOE suspends funds for Hydrogen Energy California. Good, now keep going.
July 16, 2015
In February, the Green Scissors coalition welcomed the news that the Department of Energy (DOE) had withdrawn funding for theFutureGen 2.0 carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) project in Meredosia, Illinois, and urged the department to cut funding for other CCS projects. We were pleased to see, therefore, that DOE suspended its funding for the Hydrogen Energy California (HECA) project, another proposed CSS plant, last week. Green Scissors sent a letter to DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz applauding the decision and urging the department to take the next step of cutting all its support for unviable CCS technology.
The full text of the letter is below and available for download here.
Letter to DOE: Cut Funding for CCS Projects, Like FutureGen
Dear Secretary Moniz,
Good job cutting funds for FutureGen, now let’s take back the $650 million for two other CCS projects.
February 25, 2015
The GreenScissors coalition was happy to remove FutureGen 2.0 from our cut list when the Department of Energy (DOE) made the smart move earlier this month to withdraw close to $1 billion from the Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) project in Meredosia, Illinois. In a letter sent to DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz, the coalition applauds the decision and urges the department to withdraw another $650 million awarded to two other CCS projects in the 2009 stimulus.
The full text of the letter is below and available for download here.
How to Save $259 Billion Over 10 Years
Cutting these wasteful environmentally harmful federal spending programs would save the environment and tax dollars.
How much could we save by cutting these programs?
Green Scissors Coalition Releases New Subsidy Database
On Monday, the Green Scissors Coalition launched a new, interactive database identifying more than $259 billion in environmentally-harmful government waste
On Monday, the Green Scissors Coalition launched a new, interactive database identifying more than $259 billion in environmentally-harmful government waste. The group, made up by Friends of the Earth a progressive environmental organization, Taxpayers for Common Sense, and libertarian think tank R Street Insitute, is releasing the database as a tool for policymakers to learn more about eco-unfriendly subsidies so they can eliminate them in the appropriations process and save taxpayers billions.
The coalition published the following press release:
For Immediate Release
November 17, 2014
Green Scissors 2.0: Broad coalition launches tool to cut wasteful spending and protect environment
Washington, D.C. – Amid congressional conflict over year-end appropriations, the Green Scissors Coalition released a new interactive database that identifies nearly 80 cuts Congress could make to save taxpayers more than$259 billion over ten years -- all while helping the environment.
The Green Scissors Coalition includes the progressive environmental group Friends of the Earth, non-partisan budget watchdog Taxpayers for Common Sense and free-market think tank R Street Institute. For more than two decades the Green Scissors Coalition has been working to eliminate government spending that is both economically wasteful and harmful to the environment.
“Throwing free money at polluters is a ridiculous waste of resources,” said Ben Schreiber, Climate and energy program director at Friends of the Earth. “This database will allow campaigners across the political spectrum to pinpoint corporate welfare in the federal budget and mark it for termination.”
The new database identifies subsidies to cut from federal energy, agriculture, transportation, insurance, public lands and water programs that either directly or indirectly place American land, air or water resources in jeopardy. Only those programs that all three coalition members agreed upon were included in the list, guaranteeing its appeal and usefulness to all sides of the debate.
“With the end of year appropriations battles still waging and a new Congress on the horizon, releasing this information is more important than ever,” said Ryan Alexander, President of Taxpayers for Common Sense. “The Green Scissors database provides lawmakers of all political stripes an easy way to identify billions in taxpayer savings and help the environment.”
To make cutting waste and protecting the environment more accessible, the Green Scissors team describes each of the database’s items in detail, along with its one-year and ten-year cost to taxpayers. In addition to categorizing each subsidy by issue area, the site allows users to sort the data by subsidy type. As a whole, Green Scissors cuts could provide significant savings over the next ten years in each of the issue areas:
“Big government isn't just bad for freedom, it's also bad for the environment,” said Eli Lehrer, president of the R Street Institute. “Excessive, wasteful spending not only destroys free markets, it also damages the air we breathe, the open spaces we cherish, and the water we drink. The conservatives who now control both houses of Congress should pay attention to ways they can both shrink government and save the Earth."
Note to editors: Since 1994, the Green Scissors Campaign, founded by Friends of the Earth and Taxpayers for Common Sense, has been working to make environmental and fiscal responsibility priorities in Washington. The new database is available at www.greenscissors.com along with previous versions of Green Scissors reports.
Friends of the Earth fights to create a more healthy and just world. Our current campaigns focus on promoting clean energy and solutions to climate change, keeping toxic and risky technologies out of the food we eat and products we use, and protecting marine ecosystems and the people who live and work near them.
Founded in 1995, Taxpayers for Common Sense is a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan budget watchdog that serves as an independent voice for American taxpayers. Our mission is to ensure that the federal government spends taxpayer dollars responsibly and operates within its means.
R Street is a non-profit public policy research organization that supports free markets; limited, effective government; and responsible environmental stewardship. It has headquarters in Washington, D.C. and branch offices in Tallahassee, Fla.; Austin,Texas; Sacramento, Calif.; and Columbus, Ohio. Its website is www.rstreet.org.
Ending environmentally destructive federal programs would save almost $700 Billion
Congress could move a long way toward solving the nation’s twin problems of spiraling budget costs and environmental degradation simply by cutting hundreds of billions in environmentally harmful federal subsidies
WASHINGTON, D.C. — June 26, 2012 — Congress could move a long way toward solving the nation’s twin problems of spiraling budget costs and environmental degradation simply by cutting hundreds of billions in environmentally harmful federal subsidies, according to a groundbreaking new report from an unusual left-right coalition.
Produced by the progressive environmental group Friends of the Earth, budget watchdog Taxpayers for Common Sense and free-market think tank the R Street Institute, Green Scissors 2012 identifies wasteful and environmentally harmful programs that could cost taxpayers almost $700 billion over the next decade. That represents about 63 percent of the $1.2 trillion in spending cuts Congress will be required to implement beginning into 2013 under the “sequestration” process.
“It is perverse that we are staring down the barrel of budget cuts that will lead to dirtier drinking water as we reward corporations with tens of billions of dollars a year to poison the public,” said Benjamin Schreiber, tax analyst with Friends of the Earth. “We need to take the common sense solution of saving money by ending environmentally harmful spending.”
This year’s report proposes cuts to federal energy, agriculture, transportation, insurance and public land and water programs that either directly or indirectly place American land, air or water resources in jeopardy. The report is a the result of a collaborative process between the three groups, and only those programs that all three agreed were both wasteful and environmentally harmful were included in the list of recommendations.
“Green Scissors shows just how much harm and damage big, overbearing government can do to our common home in the natural environment,” R Street President Eli Lehrer said. “The report makes a crystal clear case as to how cutting government spending can produce real benefits for society.”
The proposed cuts include:
• $269.78 billion from energy programs, including $158.7 billion of fossil fuel subsidies
• $167.09 billion of agricultural subsidies, including $89.82 billion of federal crop insurance disaster aid
• $212.02 billion of transportation subsidies, including $125.80 billion of general revenue transfers to the Highway Trust Fund
• $101.8 billion of federal flood, crop and nuclear insurance subsidies
• $24.99 billion from wasteful or environmentally damaging public lands and water projects
“As lawmakers argue over what to do about the enormous deficit and looming automatic budget cuts, we have come together to present them with almost $700 billion in cuts,” said Ryan Alexander, president of Taxpayers for Common Sense. “Whether it’s getting rid of high-risk energy loan guarantees, reining in wasteful crop insurance or ending lucrative oil and gas tax breaks, eliminating wasteful spending that harms the environment just makes sense. Taxpayers want Congress to stop bickering and get cutting. Green Scissors shows them where to start.”
To download a copy of the report and to learn more about the Green Scissors coalition, click here.
Steve Ellis, (202) 546-8500 or Steve@taxpayer.net;
Benjamin Schreiber, (202) 222-0752 or BSchreiber@foe.org;
Eli Lehrer, (202) 615-0586 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Green Scissors 2011 In Pittsburgh, PA
Check out photos from the 2011 Green Scissors event in Pittsburgh PA, held on September 16th, 2011.
Save money by saving the environment
In a recently published op-ed, Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica and Ryan Alexander, CEO of Taxpayers for Common Sense make the case that we can save the environment by saving money
“With our country facing enormous budget deficits, it is more important than ever that Congress and President Obama take stock of our nation’s budget priorities and use taxpayer money wisely. One big opportunity is to stop federal subsidies that undermine our policy priorities. That way we spend less and government works better.”
Read the full op-ed in the Washington Times.