Government Pushes Shovel-Ready Projects

What can possibly be wrong with the government pushing the most shovel-ready projects toward completion through the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) dubbing them priority projects?

Apparently Forbes, which can’t seem to write anything these days without a right-wing political slant, even such a bit of obvious good news.

William Pentland puts Charlie Sheen’s obnoxious “winning” into his headline, then whinges about “the poor bastard projects rejected because they needed more help getting over the goal-line.” Yes, the ones that need the least help are getting priority for this year. Those which need more help take more time.

This is just knee-jerk Obama bashing, of the kind Newt Gingrich engaged in, hating on the President for not getting involved with Libya and then, the very next day, hating on him for getting involved.

It’s stupid. It makes the whole party sound like a Charlie Sheen rant. And even Detroit has apparently wised up to that fool.

The BLM is involved because we’re mostly talking about projects on federal-owned land. In some cases, land use plans are being amended.  I know Pentland’s betters may want all government land sold for next-to-nothing to the first five Republican National Committee contributors in line, but c’mon.

The projects together total about 4 GW of power production. Most of the projects are in the California desert, which is becoming our renewable Saudi Arabia for having ample sunlight and harsh winds. Most of the geothermal projects are in Nevada, which has heat relatively close to the surface but a stable geology.

Admittedly 4 GW of capacity is barely 1% of what America uses each month.  But we can have it this year and, combined with simple things like advanced metering, it can have an impact. Supply more, demand less, and you’re putting a thumb down on prices. It’s a good thing.

I didn’t want to make this a partisan post. Renewable supplies will keep growing regardless of the politics, because they make sense economically, socially, and from the national security point of view. But the knee-jerk opposition to progress by Republican outlets, and the knee-jerk support of the most stupid ideas  just because they’re proposed by someone with an R next to their name, is getting silly.

Any industry group benefits from the appearance of being non-partisan. It lets the industry’s political support float, so it won’t be taken for granted by either side. If you want real power in this country, you’re in the middle of the debate. This I know as a reporter and political observer of decades’ standing, even though as a Democrat it pains me to admit it.

But on Mondays like this it must be hard to be an elephant. Do they want to antagonize everyone? Is this what they call “winning?”

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Dana Blankenhorn has covered business and technology since 1978. He covered the Houston oil boom of the 1970s, began making his living online in 1985, and launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of e-commerce, in 1994. He has written for a host of off-line and online publications including The Chicago Tribune, Advertising Age, and ZDNet. He has covered PCs, networks, telecommunications, cable technology, Internet commerce, the Internet of Things, Open Source and Health IT, He began covering alternative energy at his personal blog,, in 2007.

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