The progressives just can’t let go of their Kochspiracy theories, as they have now moved the goal post ever so slightly:
I’m certainly not going to argue with Michael Kanellos about the Kochs, being that I’m a conservative environmentalist like Ronald Reagan, but I will argue for the truth. The fact is, Mr. Kanellos is distorting the truth about the Wisconsin power plants and their profitability: Labor Fight Contains a Power Plant Grab in Wisconsin
The paper reported that Koch Industries denied interest in the power plants. However, it hasn’t ruled out not bidding on them. Koch Industries is a fossil fuel conglomerate and the two brothers are supporters of Walker. Even so, if Koch Industries didn’t bid on them, someone would, and it could amount to a windfall for the lucky company.
To which paper is Mr. Kanellos referring? Why, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and it happens to be the very same Mr. Thomas Content who has previously debunked this Kochspiracy: Nefarious Plot Thwarted by Local News Man. As Mr. Content has previously reported, the power plants in question are in violation of the Clear Air Act and require costly upgrades: State sale of heating plants questioned
In an interview, a Wisconsin utility leader and the head of a utility watchdog group questioned what value a private company might see in buying the plants.
“We would like the Joint Finance Committee to take a good look at the cost benefit analysis,” said David Benforado, who runs Municipal Electric Utilities of Wisconsin. “At first blush, these plants are probably all fully depreciated plants, and that’s not the time to sell. We would be very interested to make sure that it makes economic sense for the state.”
Charlie Higley, executive director of the Wisconsin Citizens’ Utility Board, agreed.
“They’d be lucky to get one bid,” Higley said.
The other factor that could drive down interest in buying the plants – but also might make the state eager to unload them – is the need to install environmental controls to clean up aging coal-fired power plants.
Several of the state-owned plants are under court mandate or settlement to stop burning coal after violations of the Clean Air Act. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is investigating all of the state facilities for potential violations of air pollution laws.
Any cost-benefit analysis will need to evaluate the benefit to the state of bringing the plants into compliance with pollution laws, said Jennifer Feyerherm of the Sierra Club in Madison.
So much for profiting from Wisconsin’s woes, as Mr. Kanellos suggested. One might think, however, that if Mr. Kanellos is so very concerned about environmental pollution, he would see the sale of these dirty power plants as beneficial rather than rushing to assumptions about political motivations and all while completely disregarding Mr. Content’s work. Progressives can keep trying to distort the Wisconsin budget repair bill and the power plant clause, but it won’t fix Wisconsin’s budget deficit, which is the real issue at stake here.