Another green subsidy, another green scandal. The Wall Street Journal reports that a governent program meant to aid businesses that turn cooking oils into fuel may be guilty of serious fraud. The federal government now alleges that two of these businesses have been abusing the system, casting a pall over the entire program:
In December 2010, a Lubbock, Texas-based company, Absolute Fuels, sold about $1 million worth of numbers representing an equivalent amount of biofuel output to Tesoro Corp., one of the country’s largest oil refiners, according to affidavits filed by a Secret Service investigator in federal court. Tesoro said it believed the numbers were valid and has turned in additional numbers to the EPA to replace those it bought from Absolute.The trade capped a big quarter for Absolute, which had closed similar deals with other big refiners. . . . Two months later, Environmental Protection Agency inspectors visited the Absolute factory and discovered the facility didn’t appear to be producing any fuel, the documents said.
Turning left over cooking oil into diesel fuel seems like a good idea, but good ideas need good people to make them work. The federal program that tried to subsidize this effort seems to have attracted some of the wrong types of people: the Tony Soprano kind of waste management company rather than an idealistic green recycling coop.There are, of course, scandals in many areas of government. But greens seem to make unusually bad managers. Or maybe they just come up with policy ideas that are easily manipulated by less than honest people.In any case, add this subsidy program to the list of green policy initiatives that has gone up in smoke.