Black liquor

/ 3 April 2009

I think one brand of evil is extreme selfishness. Such as gaming a tax break just to pull in money even though you know you are doing the precise opposite of that the tax break was designed to accomplish. Why do people feel they can just wash their hands of this sort of behavior?

“The credit is supposed to encourage the use of green fuel.” Sure, I said, but isn’t it a bit weird you’re now adding diesel fuel to the process in order to take advantage of it? “It is what it is,” she said.

Who is this? Ann Wrobleski, vice president for global government relations at International Paper. What did they do? IP and other paper manufacturers added diesel fuel to the “black liquor” they use to cook fibers and make paper. Black liquor is the carbon-rich residue of the paper making process and until now has been sufficient to fuel the process without any diesel additive. Why add diesel? Because that allows the paper moguls to claim a tax credit for the use of a fuel mixture that combines “alternative fuel” with a “taxable fuel”. Get that? They add fossil fuel to a biofuel and claim the mixed fuel credit, even though for decades the biofuel alone has been sufficient for the industry.

The current estimate is that this will net the industry $8 billion in tax credits. So $8 billion of our tax dollars is going to fund this travesty! Your money, my money, paying to burn diesel for no reason other than to line paper pockets!

Read the whole story at The Nation. Get angry. Write your Senator and congressperson.


Update: Slashdot has picked up the story.

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