Wanted to update this story from earlier: “The Most Transparent Administration EVER strikes again“.
If you didn’t read that post (and honestly, you probably should…..), the two big questions arising from it were:
- What was the NAME of the refinery which was singled-out to receive a hugely beneficial waiver from Federal Ethanol renewable fuels requirements, and
- Why did that refinery, and ONLY that refinery, qualify?
Well, it seems that the Wall Street Journal was able to find 1-out-of-2: we now have a name. Unfortunately, that name doesn’t exactly remove the mystery from this newest demonstration of Obama-era ‘transparency’:
A New York Stock Exchange-listed company, Alon isn’t exactly a mom-and-pop outfit.
Krotz Springs is a merchant refinery, and the ethanol mandate takes a particularly hard toll on such outfits. Alon earlier this month reported a big hit to its second-quarter earnings, partly due to what it estimates this year will be $20 million in ethanol-credit expenses. So yes, Krotz Springs is hurt by the rule.
Then again, so are other refineries. What particularly burned the industry about this exemption is that the EPA is requiring the rest of the industry (including other small, struggling refineries) to pay to cover the Krotz Springs pass.
Of course, in the absence of information, we have to look at what we do know. And what we do know is that there are the expected associations present in the case of Alon USA Energy: connections to lobbyists, influential politicians, and powerful firms like Goldman Sachs, which Ms. Strassel details in her post.
Predictably, the EPA maintains that it has a series of rationales, metrics, and recommendations which determine its selection of Alon. However, we’ve heard that one before: Solyndra, anyone?
Further, since we aren’t being told what those specific rationales, metrics or recommendations are, this process smells more than a little funky. As Strassel emphasizes:
Perhaps Krotz Springs is facing a financial challenge that dwarfs that of other small refineries. Perhaps the EPA conducted a careful analysis, devoid of political pressure.
The problem is we don’t know. The EPA, citing confidentiality restrictions, won’t explain the process. We are to trust that it did the right thing. Yet this is the same Obama administration that has spent years doling out billions in grants and loans to politically connected energy companies and junking federal rules to help favored players.
Why trust the EPA now?
This Administration long ago lost their right to be given the benefit of the doubt. Which may be why they are behaving this way, more and more. They know no one believes them, so their response is now that of the typical tyrant: “Fine, you don’t believe us. So what??”
In a different age, I’d have replied that our Representative Republic included several remedies that could, should and would be pursued. But now, in the Age of Obama, …with Congress having become little more than his ‘court eunuch’??
Chillingly, the Administration’s lawless arrogance may well be deserved.