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LPSC must protect ratepayers, avoid bullying

The Louisiana Public Service Commission needs to learn from past mistakes to make sure any government-steered rush into increasing renewable energy provision doesn’t cost ratepayers any more than what they would pay with use of fossil fuels and nuclear power.

Last month, the latest announcement of a Louisiana regulated utility planning to replace a fossil fuel source with a renewable one came from Cleco. This comes on the heels of another from Southwest Electric Power, in both cases about launching a solar array. The more recent will be built on the site of a former coal facility decommissioned last year, which dropped the state as a whole down to two such generation sites now providing fewer than 1,000 MWh or about 13.5 percent of all power generated statewide.

It all comes as part of a plan to ramp up significantly the amount of renewable energy fed into the production stream in Louisiana. While this source comprises less than four percent of electricity available in the state, one supplier, Entergy Louisiana, wants to jack this up to over a third of the state’s supply within the next four years, according to requested and anticipated filings.


Stop wasteful giveaway to CAGW-inspired elites

Don’t look now, but Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards wants to waste at least $18 million of your money on a venture with dubious payoff that borders on the impractical.

The state recently released its plan to use $73 million allocated by the latest spending orgy perpetrated by Democrat-controlled Washington, D.C. That money will go to constructing fast (Level 3) charging stations with multiple ports for electric vehicles along well-traveled byways, spaced near access points for limited-access roads, and no more than 50 miles apart, with roadside amenities, but the state must put up $18 million to qualify.

As such, the state has said it will place these along all interstate highways, both present and planned, plus the southern reaches of state highways 3090 and 3235. That would mean 29 total, with 24 new and all of the new with four ports. These fast chargers should charge the typical car in one hour, at an estimated cost of a minimum of $461,598 to a maximum of $1,240,000. That’s just for the chargers; cost per site could surge far higher as in almost every instance power lines will have to be run if not upgraded, the site itself carved out (often essentially in the middle of nowhere) with access created in most cases, land acquired, and somewhat woke requirements followed that will increase contracting costs, among others.


Useful report doesn't make gas tax hike case

A Louisiana Legislative Auditor document provides more impetus for raising the state’s gas tax. It also takes the wind out of those sails through other information it provides.

This report audited the condition of the Transportation Trust Fund, the main source for money to pay for roads. It concludes that presently the TTF won’t match identified needs, computed at just under $15 billion three years ago. It identified as sources a sticky state gas tax, the regular of 16 cents and the special TIMED assessment for discrete projects of 4 cents, not raised in over 30 years and not indexed; increasing fuel efficiency in internal combustion engine vehicles but also a move to alternative energy sources for transportation principally electric vehicles; and siphoning off money for TIMED as the 4 cents doesn’t cover everything.

It does note that a new tax starting this fiscal year, somewhat insufficiently, will offset a portion of fuel taxes not collected because of replacement by electric vehicles on roads. It will slightly exceed loss to EV use but still leave the gap of increasing fuel efficiency, to the tune of $323 million over the next decade. However, the TIMED gap already has cost almost $310 million and is forecast to eat up another $900 million or so until its expected completion in the mid-2040s.


Bossier backyard brawl prompts risky endorsement

The ripples from Louisiana’s attorney general wading into the cesspool of Bossier Parish politics are washing up on the shores of next year’s election for that office, at some political risk for Republican Bossier-Webster District Attorney Schuyler Marvin.

The Cypress Black Bayou Recreation and Water Conservation District for years has courted controversy on a number of matters as it chronically has run a deficit and cut services. But perhaps it garnered the most headlines over the dual officeholding of one of its five commissioners, Robert Berry an appointee of the Bossier Parish Police Jury, also serving as its executive director and drawing a salary that represents over a sixteenth of the entire expenditures of the quasi-state agency.

Over two years ago, Republican Atty. Gen. Jeff Landry’s office warned Berry it would act if he continued to hold both offices, as the Board appoints the executive director, following state law. Days later, Marvin did, suing to have Berry removed from one office or the other, if a violation existed.


Universities must avoid politicized investing

Recent guidance by Republican Atty. Gen. Jeff Landry concerning investment practices by state agencies needs extension by its higher education institutions.

Landry issued a statement to Louisiana legislative leaders pointing out how the practice known as environmental, social, and governance investing in its application ran afoul of both statute and civil code. This trend involves financial intermediaries investing other entities’ money using criteria not on the basis of maximizing return but instead upon those congruent with peculiar political ideologies or foreign policy objectives.

Not an official opinion issued by his office but a document that seemed usable in the event one was requested on the subject, Landry’s issuance grew out of a review by him and over a dozen other state top legal officers of one of the three largest firms involved in money management, specifically of state retirement funds, which has advocated for and looks to be applying the ESG ideology. Ultimately, either these mangers must abandon ESG goals in their investment of state funds or, the statement sets in motion, justification exists to forbid them from having that business.