There is a debate raging right now in Oklahoma between oil company executives and the wind companies. Apparently, the folks behind one of the most-subsidized industries in Oklahoma doesn’t like it when competing industries get tax breaks.
Via the oil energy-run media outlet known as The Oklahoman:
Some oil and gas executives, including Continental Resources’ Harold Hamm, are embarking on a campaign to end Oklahoma’s tax incentives for wind generation, saying the state can’t afford to subsidize a now-established industry as it faces a $1.3 billion shortfall.
The group, which calls itself the Windfall Coalition, said ending the state tax incentives and instituting a production tax credit for wind would level the playing field and spur more natural gas use by utilities for electricity generation.
Oklahoma added more than 1,400 megawatts of wind capacity in 2015. The state remained in fourth place among states for wind capacity, with 5,184 megawatts. Almost 700 megawatts are under construction in Oklahoma, the American Wind Energy Association said in its latest market report. Oklahoma now gets about 17 percent of its electricity from wind.
Hamm said he got interested in tax incentives for wind generation after talking to a friend, Frank Robson, a Claremore businessman who has helped organize the Oklahoma Property Rights Association and WindWaste. Those two groups have worked the past several years to end the state tax credits and put restrictions on the siting of wind turbines.
I don’t blame Uncle Hamm for taking this stance. He wants the oil industry to have an advantage over wind, and taking away tax incentives from industries that turn moving air into energy will make them less profitable and appealing. That’s not only good for Uncle Hamm, but good for Oklahoma, too. As we know, natural gas is infinite and will never ever run out. Unlike wind, which will stop blowing sooner or later.
Corporate welfare aside, I think there is something else at the heart of this matter. Harold Hamm doesn’t like the way wind farms look. Sure, beauty is subjective, but Uncle Harold has opinions, and a lot of money… which means they matter more than ours. In an interview with the The National Journal (pay wall alert) he once complained about how unsightly wind farms can be:
“I frankly don’t like to see a wind turbine,” Hamm told National Journal. “Once they’re there, they haunt you. That’s your viewshed. That’s what you look at. All those things standing out in the distance, we have them all over Oklahoma. And it doesn’t look very good. I frankly don’t like it.”
Uncle Hamm is correct. Wind farms are ugly and they do haunt you. The last time I drove to by the Weatherford wind farm I was haunted by the ghosts of wind farms past when they sent possessed lesser prairie chickens to shit all over my car. That was pretty disgusting and unsightly, so it got me thinking about things that are prettier than wind farms:
1. Abandoned Well Sites
There is something peaceful and rustic about an abandoned well site. When I look at these piles of metal and probably chemicals, I think about the fortunes that they made someone like Harold Hamm, and think, he is an artist!
2. Pumpjacks in the Parking Lot
The dude with a head bigger than a log in that pile of adorable is Forrest Bennett. He is running for House District 92. It’s the district that has been gerrymandered to include parts of Bricktown, Midtown and S. OKC.
Over the weekend, Forrest was knocking on doors in south Oklahoma City when his 1995 Avalon was stolen. Why would someone steal an old Avalon? Because Ole Log Head left his car running.
Forrest Bennett is a teacher’s assistant at OU during the week and an Oklahoma House of Representatives candidate on the weekend.
“They tell you to expect the unexpected on the campaign trail, but this was a little bit beyond the pale,” said Bennett, first time candidate for House District 92.
Bennett was busy Saturday morning campaigning for House District 92 in the area of S.E. 22nd and Stonewall.
When he was knocking door-to-door, he turned around and realized his car was gone.
“Our conversation couldn’t have been more than a minute long, and I was right on the porch. I didn’t go in at all. When I turned around to walk back to my car, it was gone,” Bennett said.
Bennett said he left his car running, thinking it would just be a 30-second stop.
“It took a while to process. I mean, I really can’t describe it. It’s never happened to me before,” he said.
His white 1995 Toyota Avalon wasn’t an expensive car, but it had a lot of meaning to Bennett.
He left his car running in Southeast OKC? Boy, he really knows his district. With that type of decision making, he’s going to make one hell of an Oklahoma legislator! He’s definitely the person we need to help lead us out of the state budget crisis.
Forrest’s sad story was picked up by the media. Here was his statement:
In all honesty, Forrest really should have known better that to leave his car running in South Oklahoma City. Just check out his campaign motto:
There is a saying around the Oklahoma Capitol that goes, “Thank God for Mississippi.” It’s because if there were no Mississippi, Oklahoma would be dead last in a whole bunch of categories that we don’t want to be last in – education, namely. But with the introduction of Senate Bill 1187 by State Senators Josh Brecheen and Clark Jolley, Mississippi will soon be saying, “Thank God for Oklahoma!”
Here is the purpose of SB1187:
There is hereby established the School District Empowerment Program which shall be administered by the State Board of Education. The purpose of the program is to empower locally elected school board members to govern school districts and make decisions based on the needs of their students and circumstances.
I understand some people hate Common Core/ No Child Left Behind and other programs handed down from the federal government, but having a standard of education across the nation is actually a good thing. Sometimes people move, and if you move to or from Oklahoma, your child should be able to be at the same standard of the school they are going to/from, right? Having a problem with the programs is fine, but our country and our state should have a standard of education, and it should be high.
Just kidding. Our schools are broke and have no money, and we treat teachers like crap. We suck. Don’t move here. Our Governor wants to flunk all the 4th graders.
Here is some more from the bill:
Earlier this week, some local ad agency folks or social media experts or whatever started at “mysterious” social media hashtag campaign called #WhatIfOKC. The idea is that social media users are supposed to use the hashtag to share what changes they’d like to see happen to Oklahoma City.
This got the attention of NewsOK.com:
The Oklahoma City Twitterverse is optimistic today.
Residents are using the hashtag #WhatIfOKC to talk about the change they’d like to see in the city. It’s a movement started by Made Possible By Us.
The folks at Made Possible haven’t yet announced what they’re planning to do, but it’s great to see residents having positive and thoughtful conversations about the future of OKC. To join the conversation, use #WhatIfOKC.
I don’t know, but this seems kind of cheeky. What’s in it for the people putting the thing together? Are they going to present Mayor Cornett and the city council a big book of “What Ifs,” or are they going to use the responses as a sneaky way to make money? We have no clue.
That being said, playing the “What If…” game is fun. I like to imagine things like “What if I won the lottery?” or “What if didn’t have red hair?” or “What if the news stations didn’t cut to people like Val, who are in a car looking at rain or clouds? I mean, I could see the same thing if I stepped outside. Show me the damned radar pics of where the storm is heading! I don’t own a radar to see that kind of stuff, you do. I don’t give a shit that Reed Trimmer might be looking at a ‘rain wrapped’ tornado. How about you show me the radar stuff, and I’ll look at the pictures you took of the storm afterward.”
Anyway, NewsOK.com shared some of the “What If…” ideas in a slide show. Since Patrick thinks slide shows are just a cheap way to garner page views, I picked out some of my favorites below after the jump, which is also another cheap way to get pageviews:
Last week was not a good week for Oklahoma. It makes me sad when our state is put under the spotlight for the stupid actions of our citizens, college students, State Reps, State Senators, Congressmen, and/or U.S. Senators. People love to bitch about all the stuff that is wrong with Oklahoma. Is Oklahoma perfect? Absolutely not. But it’s not as bad as everyone on Facebook makes it seem, otherwise most of us would move.
I would like to help cleanse the palette and talk about some of the things that are good for Oklahoma. Things we enjoy. Things like…
The Thunder are awesome… when they’re healthy. The Sooners have Seven Mythical National Championships in football. The Cowboys still have T. Boone Pickens’ credit card and are sometimes good at sports. And Tulsa…well, it’s still there. (Can someone double-check to make sure?) Sports bring people together. They also bring in a lot of money, unless you’re a player in the NCAA. In that case, enjoy the free head trauma! If you want to enjoy sports, become a casual fan. If you take it too seriously you’ll get into debates on message boards. Don’t be that person. They are bad for Oklahoma.
Oklahoma has a lot of great food, and everyone, regardless of gender, race or sexual preference, has to eat! Food is something we can all get behind… and then die of obesity. Shit… sorry, I’m trying to stay positive. Enjoy the great foods we have in Oklahoma, but don’t die of obesity.
3.) Cost of Living!
Another great thing about Oklahoma is the low cost of living. You can buy a nice house and still have some money leftover to spend on food and sports. Unless you don’t get paid very much and have student loans. In that case, enjoy the crippling debt and Netflix instead of cable!
Damn, I did it again. OK, start your own oil company and become a billionaire, that would be good for you AND Oklahoma!
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