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  • President Obama’s $1 Billion Earmark

    Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) likes to say that Congressional earmarking has become the gateway drug to federal overspending.  Is there any better evidence of this theory than President Barack Obama’s $1 billion earmark for a special project in Illinois that was slipped into his failed $862 billion stimulus?  According to Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, the Obama Administration awarded $1 billion on August 5th for a Carbon Capture and Storage Network in Illinois:

    Today’s announcement will help ensure the US remains competitive in a carbon constrained economy, creating jobs while reducing greenhouse gas pollution.  This investment in the world’s first, commercial-scale, oxy-combustion power plant will help to open up the over $300 billion market for coal unit repowering and position the country as a leader in an important part of the global clean energy economy

    This project was an earmark in the stimulus according to a Washington Post story dated March 6, 2009:

    Deep inside the economic stimulus package is a $1 billion prize that, in five short words, shows the benefits of being in power in Washington. The funding, for “fossil energy research and development,” is likely to go to a power plant in a small Illinois town, a project whose longtime backers include a group of powerful lawmakers from the state, among them President Obama.

    On page 139 of the President’s stimulus plan, Public Law 111-5, you can find the earmark:  “For an additional amount for ‘Fossil Energy Research and Development’, $3,400,00,000.”

    According to a Department of Energy press release, this one billion dollar earmark is being provided to “FutureGen Alliance, Ameren Energy Resources, Babcock & Wilcox, and Air Liquide Process & Construction, Inc. to build FutureGen 2.0, a clean coal repowering program and carbon dioxide (CO2) storage network.” The Department of Energy projects 1,900 jobs as a result of $1,000,000,000 in new spending.  This works out to about a half million dollars per job.  Senator Coburn said of the $1 billion earmark:

    This costly and gratuitous earmark further calls into question the integrity of the Recovery Act. This decision appears to have more to do with politics and geography than science. FutureGen 1.0 was called ‘YesterGen’ because it had little scientific value. Now, taxpayers are being forced to finance the largest pork-barrel project in our nation’s history with borrowed money. Adding another $1 billion to our debt for a dubious project will only delay our recovery.

    The Hill reports that problems have emerged with the implementation of this earmark.

    A long-troubled federal project to demonstrate the viability of capturing carbon from coal-fired power plants and socking it away underground has hit a new snag.  The town of Mattoon, Ill., wants no part of the Energy Department’s revised “FutureGen” project after seeing its role in the program change and shrink.  Last week DOE rolled out a revamped version of FutureGen, the program to build a next-generation coal plant with a consortium of power and mining companies. DOE scrapped plans for building FutureGen from the ground up in Mattoon, where local officials were excited about the jobs that would come with it.

    This is the same project initiated by the Bush Administration, then canceled in 2008 because of cost overruns.  Now Mattoon, Illinois is rejecting the project.  With unemployment today at 9.5% and a failed stimulus plan, it would seem like a good time to take a second look at this program to potentially cancel this waste of taxpayer dollars.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    15 Responses to President Obama’s $1 Billion Earmark

    1. Sarah Cadigan says:

      This $1 billion pork must really stink if small town America is saying no thanks.

    2. Rachael Mazzoni says:

      This president is a disgrace. Every single decision he makes and every single penny he spends is wrong for America.

    3. Proud Okies says:

      Is our Senator Tom Coburn the only person awake in DC? We applaud your work Tom, keep at it!

    4. Scott Stevens says:

      Will it be enough to through the bums out in 2010 and 2012? We need a contract with America and the follow through to rescind this madness. Are you up to it fellow Republicans?

    5. David Freeman-Lansing, Kansas says:

      Maybe he can get “Blaggo” or Bill Ayers to run it. They are both currently unemployed. Tony Resco can be an advisor too!

    6. Glenn Clark, Richmond Virginia says:

      Though I’m looking forward to being able to say “then President Barack Obama”, I think you should use the word “than” in your second sentence.

    7. Robert L. Crocker Ch says:

      There were a lot of nuclear power plants built in Illinois back in the 60s and 70s. That's why their power rates are amongst the lowest in the nation.

      Let's build about 3 or 4 hundred new Gigawatt sized nuclear power plants and start gradually phasing out the coal plants.

      We also need to convince all of our "cap and trade" enthusiasts to start spending more time worrying about what's coming out of their bongs and less time worrying about what's coming out of the smokestacks of coal burning power plants.

    8. South Dakota says:

      I hail Senator Coburn…we need more like him watching our dollars!

    9. Anthony Ferguson , T says:

      Would someone please tell that camera hound Sen. John Mc Cain to please stop playing politics with his appearances in BOTH parties public announcements. The man is in love with himself and underneath that plastic facade , surely he doesn't believe he can run for the office of president again. I have observed his mugshot on stage in at least a dozen public announcement opportunities over the last 2 weeks. It no longer matters which party is making the announcement , he is there, smirking and not saying a word. When will this camera ape realize that it's over for him and the rest of the cronies of the Republican Party in office just as well as the Democrats? The American people are fed up with every move these incompetent parties move on, there is no difference between them., they are both a hinderance and a danger for this country.

    10. Pingback: Must Know Headlines 8.15.2010 — ExposeTheMedia.com

    11. LibertyAtStake, Alex says:

      "…carbon constrained economy…"? Huh? Straw man for allowing statism's heavy hand into the free market.

      "Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive"

    12. Wktskt says:

      A politician setting aside government money for a special project in his/her state or district…..tell me it's not so! Tell me neither Democrat not Republican would stoop to such a level…..tell me the money of the people is being foolishly wasted on a government idea that is not based on factual information about energy…..can it be!!!!! Where is FDR when we need him!!!! Oh wait I forgot we have Nancy and Harry!!!!

    13. Pingback: Virginia Right! News Hound for 8/16/2010 | Virginia Right!

    14. RoDan says:

      Carbon capturing network?… Advanced technology for getting CO2 out of the atmosphere?… Actually it's very old "technology" : They're called trees, and they work great even without taxpayer's money!.. Try planting a few, you idiots!..

    15. A, Sawtelle, Cincinn says:

      should get a better spokesperson than McCain. Most people who voted for him were holding their noses at the same time. Civil ideas are fine but no one is listening. Hope and Change

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