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Tony Soprano, Green Hero?

Another green subsidy, another green scandal. The Wall Street Journal reports that a governent program meant to aid businesses that turn cooking oils into fuel may be guilty of serious fraud. The federal government now alleges that two of these businesses have been abusing the system, casting a pall over the entire program:

In December 2010, a Lubbock, Texas-based company, Absolute Fuels, sold about $1 million worth of numbers representing an equivalent amount of biofuel output to Tesoro Corp., one of the country’s largest oil refiners, according to affidavits filed by a Secret Service investigator in federal court. Tesoro said it believed the numbers were valid and has turned in additional numbers to the EPA to replace those it bought from Absolute.

The trade capped a big quarter for Absolute, which had closed similar deals with other big refiners. . . . Two months later, Environmental Protection Agency inspectors visited the Absolute factory and discovered the facility didn’t appear to be producing any fuel, the documents said.

Turning left over cooking oil into diesel fuel seems like a good idea, but good ideas need good people to make them work. The federal program that tried to subsidize this effort seems to have attracted some of the wrong types of people: the Tony Soprano kind of waste management company rather than an idealistic green recycling coop.

There are, of course, scandals in many areas of government. But greens seem to make unusually bad managers. Or maybe they just come up with policy ideas that are easily manipulated by less than honest people.

In any case, add this subsidy program to the list of green policy initiatives that has gone up in smoke.

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  • Sam L.

    Cooking oil…reminds me of Billie Sol Estes. Scammed cooking oil back in the early-mid ’60s.

  • make smaller government no if and butts

  • Jack

    I would have supported the Feds giving Billions in research into a kilowatt battery,

    but instead they wasted billions on green scams that also funneled money back to the democrat party.

  • SDN

    It bears a strong resemblance to political corruption and minority politicians. No one wants to look too closely, because you draw the instant attack as “raaaaacist” or “denier”, and the bad behavior is dismissed because having minority politicians or green energy is viewed as a Good Thing all by itself irrespective of results. Then there’s the instant “solidarity” defending against “the Man”.

    So no one looks until you have William “Cold Cash” Jackson or Marion “B*tch set me up” Barry and the mess is too obvious to cover up. Solyndra, ethanol, Absolute Fuels, same thing.

  • Free government money with no oversight and a politically-driven media guaranteed not to look at you closely? How could this POSSIBLY wind up with corruption?

  • joel

    Has anybody ever spoken to anyone involved in US govt activities? The same theme is heard over and over. Waste and inefficiency. Why should this be any different? Most corruption in the govt is legal. This just happens to be illegal. So what.

    The govt needs downsizing. Badly.

  • CBDenver

    From the article “Congress in 2005 and 2007 set mandates requiring major oil refiners to purchase credits representing gallons of diesel-motor fuel made from alternative sources, such as cooking oil and soybeans”.

    Now let me get this straight. The oil companies didn’t have to actually purchase the oil — just credits representing the oil. Didn’t anybody think that strategy might be ripe for fraud and abuse? Oh, wait, maybe that was the idea all along. Perhaps some of these big government programs are actually designed to facilitate fraud. In other words, fraud is not a bug, its a feature.

  • teapartydoc

    Anyone old enough to remember the Carter administration should have been able to see this stuff coming from a mile away. Any formula for fraud once used only gets more capable of doing damage with the refinement of age. This is why governments have a tendency to become more, not less corrupt over time.

  • nick osborn

    Actually, Billie Sol was dealing with nonexistent tanks of anhydrous ammonia (fertilizer). Just coincidentally (ha!) he was close friends with Lyndon Johnson. But when the banks came looking for their assets, LBJ couldn’t shield him and Billie Sol went to the Big House for awhile. Money talks.

    Seems like gummint just can’t get out of the fraud business, doesn’t it?

  • holmes

    They’re just really fond of creating these artificial markets. If the market isn’t doing what Greens want it to do, they figure, through government manipulation, they can just create one out of thin air. But of course, if it’s artificial, it lends itself to manipulation.

  • Eurydice

    Maybe they’re not bad managers and/or easily manipulated – maybe they’re crooks themselves.

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