Jet-Fuel Gate



Investors Business Daily has an amazing editorial that demonstrates the spirit of Solyndra lives on in the Obama White House.  There have been a long string of Solyndra-type payoffs rolling out of this Administration.  The latest one has national security implications on top of the cheap Chicago-style corruption and “green” fanaticism, as we learn the U.S. Navy was forced to purchase thousands of gallons of biofuel from a stimulus-receiving company that has ties to the White House… at an astonishing four times the price of normal jet fuel. 

JP-5 marine jet fuel costs less than $4 per gallon, but the Navy was ordered to buy $12 million worth of fermented algae biofuel from, among several sources, a company called Solazyme, at whopping $26 per gallon.  This was mixed with oil products to produce a 50/50 blend of real fuel and green horsefeathers worth $15 per gallon. 

As Fox News reported in early December, the purchase was “authorized by an executive order under the Obama Administration’s ‘We Can’t Wait’ campaign.”  Furthermore, “Administration officials gave no indication why they’re not going through Congress, instead using a program that was established to promote rapid job growth by bypassing congressional debate.” 

Oh, I think we can come up with a few reasons why.  But first, let the IBD editors explain why this is an incredibly dangerous 50/50 blend of Obama corruption and ideology:

We heard the ludicrous excuse last week from Obama Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, as quoted in the National Journal, that “we are doing this for one simple reason: It makes us better fighters” because “our use of fossil fuels is a very real threat to our national security and to the U.S. Navy ability to protect America and project power overseas.”

What about the “very real threat” to the Navy of not having enough money for the ships, fighters and ammunition it needs to protect America?  President Obama’s assault on the Pentagon could scrap 60 of the Navy’s ships, including two carrier groups.

The biofuel will be used next summer by — we’re not making this up — “the Great Green Fleet Carrier Strike Force” in exercises near Hawaii. Mabus painted the picture of America’s great naval force advancing from sails to coal to diesel to nuclear, and now finally to biofuels.  But if we keep starving the Navy, it may soon not have enough loose change to repair the sails on Old Ironsides.

As we have seen time and again, the actual functionality of any given Obama program is entirely secondary to ensuring the right special interests are pleased, and the right people get paid, in accordance with the correct dead-end environmental radicalism.

The IBD editorial builds upon the outstanding detective work of J.E. Dyer at Hot Air, who provides extensive details of Solazyme, and how it came to score this incredible deal to rake in millions at the expense of both taxpayers and military readiness.  The tale is not difficult to summarize:

1. Solazyme “strategic advisor” T.J. Glauthier worked on the energy part of Obama’s trillion-dollar “stimulus” bill. 

2. Surprise, surprise!  Solazyme gets a sweet $21.8 million grant of taxpayer loot from the stimulus bill.

3. Solazyme uses this money to open the largest biofuel plant in North America, located in Geismar, Louisiana.

4. Obama abuses an executive order to buy millions of dollars of biofuel from the plant he forced taxpayers to spend millions of dollars building.

Combined with heavily subsidized commercial purchases of biofuel, this swirling toilet of graft will be used to argue that “green energy” programs are wonderful and profitable.  You can save the Earth and make money too!  Provided you have the right political connections to get your hands into taxpayer wallets, of course.

According to Wired, the “Green Fleet” brings Secretary Mabus “much closer to his promise of obtaining half of the Navy’s fuel from alternative sources by 2020.  And the often-struggling biofuels industry will be a lot closer to proving its viability.”  Also, “the Obama administration recently announced that the Navy, along the Departments of Agriculture and Energy, will spend as much as $510 million to develop the country’s biofuel production infrastructure, and to buy up more gas.”  That’s an awful lot of politically distributed cabbage.  Make those campaign donations quickly, CEOs!

Well, at least some jobs were created by the stimulus payoff to build that biofuel plant, right?  You bet!  According to Biodiesel Magazine, “the plant cost more than $150 million and more than 300 jobs are being created.”  Divide $21.8 million stimulus by 300 jobs and you get about $73,000 of taxpayer subsidy per job created.  That would get worse if you include the executive-ordered income from the Navy fuel purchase as part of the subsidy cost, although it would still be much better than the Obama “green energy” average, which is hovering somewhere around $5 million per job.

Besides the extremely disturbing questions of military capability raised by “green energy” graft in a time of Defense cuts, in the long term, Jet-Fuel Gate feeds into the fatal political fallacy of ignoring inputs while trumpeting carefully selected outputs.  The other big biofuel providers in the Navy deal, Tyson Foods and Syntroleum, make their fuel from cooking oil.  They were lured into the biofuel business with the usual combination of sanctimony and big-bucks subsidies.  The idea of declaring any of these projects “profitable” is ludicrous – they’re national debt sinks, gobbling up billions in compulsory subsidies seized from taxpayers.  We long ago ran out of the money to pretend they’re anything else, and we’re very close to being unable to borrow enough to keep the game running in overtime.