The PJ Tatler

Senate to Re-Consider Billionaire Benefiting NAT GAS Boondoggle (Updated)

The Senate is considering attaching the NAT GAS Act to the highway transportation bill. Many Republicans seem to be on board with the idea. They should re-consider the re-consideration. The NAT GAS Act sounds like it could be a good idea — promote the development of natural gas, which the United States has in abundance — but in reality it’s a typical government approach that ends up benefiting billionaires. In this case, liberal billionaires.

What the NAT GAS Act does is provide subsidies for the purchase of natural gas powered vehicles, and for retrofitting facilities to dispense natural gas fuel. Three liberal billionaires are salivating over the prospect of raking in those government subsidies.

George Soros is a major investor in Westport Innovations. Westport Innovations is keen to see the NAT GAS Act pass, so that it can establish a “beachhead” for its natural gas vehicles.

“We believe this increased buydown incentive would make our heavy-duty LNG trucks and our medium-range CWI-powered vehicles price competitive with standard diesel trucks. And this, in turn, we think, can create a large national market for our products based on the beachhead success we have had at the ports and throughout California. The Nat Gas Act would be a game changer for Westport as well as for our fuel infrastructure and OEM partners, and we will be watching Washington closely for progress on this bill after the August recess.”

That’s from 2009, but there’s no reason to think they’ve changed their minds since then. Westport, which is linked to several major Obama donors, has most of its facilities overseas. So the NAT GAS Act won’t even necessarily create many jobs here in the United States.

T. Boone Pickens is the major stockholder of Clean Energy. He has spent $82 million promoting the NAT GAS Act over the past few years, because Clean Energy stands to benefit. We don’t tend to think of Pickens as a liberal, but his family has donated nearly half a million dollars to the leftwing Center for American Progress, mother ship of the stridently leftwing blog Think Progress. He has also donated to a 527 fund that targeted Republicans in the last election cycle. It’s all in the name of promoting his “Pickens Plan,” which if adopted would benefit T. Boone Pickens.

And then there’s George Kaiser. Kaiser’s Chesapeake Energy also stands to benefit from the NAT GAS Act. The Obama fundraiser was at the center of another government-“green” energy boondoggle, Solyndra. Kaiser is behind the effort to get NAT GAS passed. Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon has even funded leftwing environmental groups to attack coal producers. NAT GAS would give Kaiser’s company a competitive advantage over coal.

Personally, I have no beef with natural gas. The US has a massive amount of it, it’s cheap and it’s clean. But NAT GAS is yet another effort by a select few to use government to give themselves a competitive advantage that they have failed to establish in the marketplace. It puts government in the position of picking winners and losers. In the case of these three billionaires, it may also end up lining the pockets of people who spend their money empowering the far left.

More: Pickens has been a frequent visitor to the Obama White House. What do the oil man and the young president talk about?