Boondoggles do not define a business climate no matter what the Koch Brothers say

The demise of a boondoggle. Greg Gerritt August 23 2016
Governor Raimondo has a dilemma. She has to accept and spin the demise of the Clear River Energy fracked gas power plant. She has to find a way to preserve her fiction of the efforts to create a better “business climate” while allowing the demise of a plant that the community fought tooth and nail, that made no sense economically or environmentally, violated and overwhelmed all the good we are doing to stop climate change.

Her problem is compounded by the keystone kops way in which Invenergy went about the project with applications filled with information about projects that were not being proposed, and almost none on what was actually on the table. If she blames the people for stopping a bad project she gets real political heat and encourages challenges to her reign from the left. If she blames the regulatory apparatus for rejecting an amateurish proposal that did not meet the letter or the spirit of Rhode Island and Federal clean air and climate actions and legislation, she throws her own efforts at being business friendly under the bus.

Nope, she has to say the system worked, that the project is not appropriate for Rhode Island and its high standard and concern for the quality of life of its community, She has a great comparison to use. DeepWater Wind. Who went above and beyond in meeting environmental standards and in producing quality work from day one to completion. Rest assured that if Invenergy was something other than a keystone kops outfit, and produced a good application that really demonstrated their concern for doing it right, we still would have rejected a fracked gas plant that would prevent us from meeting any of our climate goals. But in this case Governor Raimondo would score points with the public and reduce the fallout from the stopping of some big deal project, by emphasizing both climate issues and the incompetence of Invenergy.

The governor also has to gain much more acceptance of democracy. Trying to shove projects like this down the throats of communities does not work any longer. The governor ought to embrace the wisdom of the people who have prevented boondoggles foisted upon us by the ruling elites in the past. She might want to get her speechwriters working now so that she can strike the right tone when the inevitable crumbling of the Clear River project occurs. And she might want to clearly articulate that gas is not the answer and that only by going completely clean energy can RI prosper in the future so this kind of living in the past proposal will not get her approval again.

Vote Green in 2016

response to an article on how to slow the growth of cities

We need smarter cities, but in order to make rural communities work better we need to raise the price of food and the price farmers get. Without that you will never keep people in rural areas. The other thing we need to do is stop shoving people off the land. As long as the palm oil plantations and the oil companies and the miners keep killing rural people who want to keep their land slowing the growth of cities is a fantasy. Maybe start with rural peasants and the original inhabitants of the land get land rights. Without that the article is a fantasy.

Lardaro misses the boat again

To the Editor,
The little note about Professor Lardaro’s index of the RI economy that appeared on Wednesday August 10 again reflects a set of biases that distort how the RI economy is doing. According to Dr Robert Gordon, an economist at Northwestern University, economic growth has dramatically slowed since 1973, and the fundamentals of the economy are trending towards a steady state economy. When this is combined with ecological collapse, climate change, and little population growth in our cities, it is unrealistic to expect rapid economic growth in Rhode Island. Professor Lardaro also reflects the bias that the Koch Brother funded anti think tanks offer that taxes and regulations hurt the RI economy. Despite the business climate ratings showing RI in 50th place for the last few years RI has had a growth rate matching the national median, 1.8% in the first quarter of 2016.

Old industrial places that have been urbanized for a long time will never grow at the rate that Wall St thinks they should. When the politicians and professors adopt the out dated and wrong headed indexes about the economy and use it to trash us they harm all Rhode Islanders. It is time to ignore the business climate indexes that are biased against workers and throw out the indexes that are biased towards a growth that will never come back. Tax cuts and deregulation will not solve our problems. Only working to create prosperity in a low growth environment will.

Greg Gerritt
Head of Research