Energy Department gives $105 million subsidy to ethanol plant 

They call it "Project Liberty," but it's certainly not a free-market undertaking.

POET, the politically connected ethanol giant, has just pocketed a $105 million Department of Energy loan guarantee for an ethanol plant in Iowa. If this plant -- the first to turn corn waste into fuel -- fails, U.S. taxpayers foot the bill.

Even if it doesn't fail, there's a cost to the economy: absent this DOE loan guarantee, Poet's lender would have leant to someone else -- someone not as politically favored, but whom the bank thought more promising economically. So, DOE is diverting resources from the economically promising to the politically favored.

Poet employs plenty of revolving door lobbyists including former Reagan aide David Bockorny, and Nicole Venable, former chief of staff to convicted congressman William Jefferson.

FURTHER READING:

I've written about the DOE loan guarantees going to foreign-owned firms using robots for manufacture. I also reported on the revolving-door lobbyist who is said to have written the language expanding this loan-guarantee program. I also wrote about the "advanced ethanol" plant in Georgia to get DOE loan guarantees before shutting down.

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Timothy P. Carney

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