Archive for May, 2008

E10 & Pellet Fuel For Maine……..

Posted: 31/05/2008 in Uncategorized
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Thanks to the efforts of the Green Machine, alternative fuel options have become one hot topic today. Both sides of the aisle have arguments for and against these “new” fuels, and their benefits and hazards. But there seems to be a lot of facts in dispute as well concerning the viability of usage of both of these fuels here in Maine.

I’ve been keeping a sort of close watch on the progress of both of these fuel options and having done so, I’m not convinced that either one is such a good choice for the long term here in the Pine Tree State, or anywhere else for that matter. They both certainly have some good qualities, and I can agree that they have a place in the greater scheme of things. But I become nervous when the promoters claim that these two options can effectively replace coal and oil.

Both of these fuels are touted as answers to at least part of the global warming catastrophe that most environmentalists and Green Groups seem intent upon worshipping. Largely due to Al Gore’s promotion of his seriously flawed, and unscientific advertising campaign warning of the dangers of CO2 and the need for mitigation or reduction of this particular GHG. In reading some of his claims, he seems to purport that one way of proving that CO2 is responsible for increasing temperatures is by pointing out that Venus has way more CO2 in its atmosphere, making it hot enough to melt lead, with an air temperature of 740 K. Because of the fact that CO2 makes up approximately 90% of the atmosphere it make the presumption very easy.

However, it has been shown by many climatologists that it is impossible for CO2 to cause the reflectivity that is needed to create this greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is actually caused by vapor in the atmosphere, and Venus is shrouded with several layers of dense clouds made of vapors containing Sulfur dioxide. In contrast, we can look at Mars, which has about 15 times more CO2 in its atmosphere than we do. If Gores’ theory holds true, Mars should be hotter that the Earth. Much hotter. But it isn’t. The average temperature on Mercury is 70 below Zero.

The big problem with the global warming argument as put forth by the Greens poster boy Gore is that true science was not used to arrive at the conclusions he promotes. All of the ‘facts’ are little more than guesses arrived at by building a statistical future based purely on suggested numbers. This is called a ‘computer based model.’ None of the predictions from these models have come to pass. There have been claims that the ocean temperatures have been rising, but NOAA’s Argos buoy system doesn’t seem to support that claim. There has been a warming, although minute in perspective, of the surface temperatures. One interesting fact I came across states that water holds less CO2 at higher temperatures, and therefore as water temperature increases, more CO2 is released into the atmosphere from the oceans.

But to get back to the original discussion of E10 and wood pellets, let me touch briefly on the usage of E10. While the claim that ethanol is more environmentally friendly than petro fuel, it really isn’t. For one thing, studies from the EPA show that there is in fact a lower CO2 emission at the outset. Estimates are that E85 has about 29% less CO2 emissions than petro fuel. E10 would be around 8% less I believe. The fact that E10 is less efficient, thereby requiring more usage to do the same amount of work as with petro fuels, offsets that difference making the net output of CO2 almost equal as from straight petro fuel. But the worse part of using ethanol in fuel is that E10 usage causes about 30% higher outputs of NOS, Acetaldehyde, and other acid rain causing chemicals, and the percentage increases as the temperature decreases. The actual result of these emissions would lead to a higher incidence of respiratory ailments and other problems.

Maine gets pretty cold in the winter time, and many sources relate anecdotal evidence that fuel with E10 in it is less reliable in the winter time. There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that more research needs to be done before we should just arbitrarily begin the widespread usage of ethanol as fuel. Many countries around the world are beginning to come to the realization that the effort of CO2 reduction isn’t worth the growing costs associated with it. Sweden was the pioneer country in instituting a carbon tax structure in 1981. In spite of the cost and all of the efforts expended, in over twenty five years they have only attained a reduction of less than 2% of their carbon output as a nation.

With the growing resentment of the environmental organizations worldwide, one would wonder whether the Un will in fact be able to levy the global carbon tax as proposed by the Zedillo committee a few years ago at the Mexico conference. There are a lot of false claims behind this global warming situation being used to suggest a coming catastrophic conclusion if we do not act quickly enough. The carbon tax is being used as a way to suggest a way to reduce carbon, but the proof shows that it doesn’t work.

So in using the product we call wood pellets for heating, are we walking into another potential problem? It has been wrongly asserted that the increase in demand for ethanol has caused shortages and spiking prices of food around the world. While this in part may be true, it cannot be blamed for all of the increase. Other factors such as increasing populations and cyclical drought conditions in Australia, reduction of farmland in Asia due to an expanding industrial base and other situations are the majority causes of the increase in food prices.

But to counter this myth, a move is afoot to change from feedstock consisting of food based crops to a cellulosic feedstock will result in an increasing demand for wood to feed the process. With an increase in demand for the same wood fiber crops used to produce wood pellets by the ethanol industry, the prices are sure to rise on wood pellet fuel. Supply and demand is always the dominant factor when computing financial models. Increased demand coupled with lowering supplies leads to an increase in price.

At some point and time, many analysts believe, the price of crude oil will begin to decline. I haven’t come across any who see a huge decrease, but it is probable that we may see a decrease back to around $100.00 per barrel. When this may happen is up for grabs. It may happen next year, or it may not happen until after the next presidential election cycle. But either way, it’s unlikely to decrease unless the value of the US dollar regains its status as the strongest currency in the world.

But if you decide you want to convert, it might not be a bad idea to set it up so you can easily change back to an oil based system. As for the ethanol, I’m going to be paying attention to the pumps. If the stickers announcing the presence of E10 show up where I get gas, I’m going to change stations. At least for a while. I believe we may see a situation similar to the one Maine went through with the MBTE fuel additives.

And just so you are aware of a little unadvertised fact, the biggest reason ethanol is low cost is because it is heavily subsidized by various tax break schemes. So even if you don’t use it, you are still paying for it in the form of higher taxes.

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Over the last couple of days the LURC has been publically deliberating the development plan proposed by Plum Creek Timber. Anybody that’s been a regular reader here knows that there are two things central to my opposition to this plan. One of them is the size of this development, and the second one is the involvement of The Nature Conservancy in the project. No one knows for certain how this will all work out, but like I have stated before, my money says that the decision was made a long time ago, and the LURC is merely jumping through the hoops to keep the voters happy.

One of the claims I have stated as well is that while many seem to think that Plum Creek’s bank book is being used to pay for all this, so there should be no opposition to the plan. If that were true I might, in a long shot sort of way, agree. But historically, whenever TNC is involved in a land deal, the taxpayer ultimately pays for it, and big time payments at that. The same thing will be happening here in Maine, and a press release from the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM) seems to solidify that stand.

The NRCM say’s in the release;
LURC standards require Plum Creek to conserve land to offset harm from the company’s massive, unprecedented development, but the public could end up footing the bill. A total of nearly $25 million dollars needs to be raised to purchase these lands and conservation easements that LURC would require; some of these funds would likely come from state and federal funds supported by taxpayers. Plum Creek and the Nature Conservancy have indicated that they intend to apply for public funds from the Forest Legacy Program to pay for this easement.”

Twenty five millions may or may not look like a lot of money, depending on how you look at it, but I can almost guarantee that it won’t end there. Suppose they do manage to build all 2,000 housing units, 975 of them seasonal (supposedly) housing. Who do you think will pick up the tab for road maintenance? That means building and rebuilding, snowplowing, patching of the hot top and so forth. What about sewage and water? Eventually the population will be great enough that new sewer and water systems will have to be installed, leading to maintenance and repair bills after the construction.

There are a lot of things that will add to the total bill that nobody seems to be addressing in this issue. The same thing is happening with Plum Creek and TNC deals all over the country. Montana is a recent, and glaring example of how much power TNC wields, and partnering with Plum Creek, the largest private landowner in the US, makes them an almost omnipotent in their business dealings. I’d like to see some of the Maine political representatives and public officials start to do some web searches to see what is really going on.

While being careful to prevent people from realizing what the ultimate goal here is, if you do some deep enough searching, you can see that TNC , an NGO member of the UN, has a greater plan in store for Maine, and the rest of the US forests as well. And sometimes they use their position in ways that they shouldn’t. An interesting article from Undue Influence can be found at; http://www.undueinfluence.com/nature_conservancy.htm that shares some stories you should read about these land deals.

Another article at http://www.4x4wire.com/access/education/nm_twp/nm_twp_pt8.htm talks about the Virginia Barrier Islands , off the Virginian coast. One particularly telling piece from the article says;
Patrick Noonan began serving as director of operations in 1970. During this time, TNC used a foundational grant to buy up three barrier islands off the Virginia coast.

Soon, Noonan began a secretive, “whirlwind acquisition” campaign to buy up the remaining islands “with the intent to develop them into upscale vacation homes”. Using a “bogus front group”, TNC managed to purchase 14 of the 18 barrier islands. “With its purchase TNC destroyed hundreds of millions of dollars worth of economic growth and thousands of jobs – not just with those three, but with what followed.”

Another interesting article from Orion Magazine in 2005 (http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/161/) details the eviction of tribes from areas of Africa that various conservation groups, TNC one of them, felt to be a threat to conservation efforts. Accused of hunting Silverback Gorillas, the Batwa Tribe was removed from their ancestral homeland. The Batwa denied hunting the gorillas, and no proof was ever presented to support the claim that they were. Nonetheless, the Batwa were forcibly expelled and left to live on the outside of the newly designated conservation parks in makeshift huts, with no means of support or sanitation.

The gorillas were actually being poached by other rival tribes that encroached upon the Batwa homelands, but they apparently were never prosecuted. The conservation alliance got what they wanted. There are no indigenous tribes in the case of the Moosehead area, but the pattern of eviction from select lands around the world is proven. The website for First Peoples Worldwide presents a list of many of these evictions from around the world at http://firstpeoplesworldwide.org/pdfs/Evictions_and_WorksCitedforWeb3-8-07.pdf that seems pretty huge.

The LURC may have already decided to allow this project to proceed with the minor changes suggested, but by the time all is said and done, I believe a lot of people will come to regret the move. In light of the fact that the tourism industry is suffering from a decline due to the rising costs of fuel, I wonder why any developer would want to build so far away from the places tourist would come from. I can see mega millions being spent on infrastructure to develop the roadways, airports and other transportation facilities to support these businesses. Ka-ching, Ka-ching. Sounds like a profitable future for somebody here in Maine, but I bet it isn’t going to be a Mainer who makes the profit. I wonder how long it will be before the blowup happens in the news?


Isaiah 19:12-14 (King James Version)

12 Where are they? where are thy wise men? and let them tell thee now, and let them know what the LORD of hosts hath purposed upon Egypt.
13 The princes of Zoan are become fools, the princes of Noph are deceived; they have also seduced Egypt, even they that are the stay of the tribes thereof.
I’ve got some interesting tools that I use to do research on a wide variety of subjects, ranging from the history of the Popham Colony in 1607 all the way up to today’s election coverage. One of those tools allows me to see what most people are reading here on my blog. Two subjects are almost tied for frequency, and surprisingly, one of them isn’t Plum Creek and the LURC saga taking place over the development proposal for the Moosehead region.

The top two subjects for this blog turn out to be E10 and the election coverage. One of the little twists of the election is that come next year, E10 is going to become a huge part of the political landscape, for several reasons. One of those reasons will have to do with the outcome of the Presidential race, and how our elected representatives deal with those results. At this point, I’m going to labor under the presumption that the race will be between John McCain and Barak Obama. A sort of conservative and a blatant liberal.

This outcome will, of course, dictate the direction of the price of oil will take. Unfortunately, there are some serious misconceptions out there that are not making the situation any easier to cope with. Not to mention that a sound strategy is almost impossible to develop. Probably the biggest misconception is the liberal biased myth that the high prices exist solely for the purpose of feeding the bloated oil industry profiteers, all of them friends of Bush and Cheney. It would be an easy fix if that were true, but it’s not. But since much of the public has been led to believe it, Pelosi, Boxer & Co. have instituted a drive to place a windfall tax penalty on the oil companies.

Many economists suggest that this is a fatal plan. I’m not an economist, but I tend to agree with them. In the first place, even though the oil industry made some huge profits last year, they were not the industry with the highest profit margin. Even though the industry as a whole experienced an increase in profits, that is certainly no reason to punish them by slapping a windfall profits penalty on their income. Part of the reason for that is because that any business needs profit to sustain itself, as well as continue in its growth as a business.

The oil industry has a history of widely varied profit and loss, and while the last year may have been bumper crop years, some analysts feel as though that situation or pattern is unlikely to continue. Already we are seeing declines in usage, changing the supply and demand ratio which will ultimately lead to a stagnation, or more preferable, a drop in retail prices. As the spot price of oil continues to rise based on world demand, the profit margins will disappear. That would lead to a reduction in ability to develop new sources, exploration activities, distillation of crude and so on. basically, we would be stripping the US oil companies ability to compete in the world market, further solidifying our dependence on foreign sources for our energy needs.

But you say that their profit margin is sinful and that they should be giving back to the people by selling gas at a cheaper price? According to Yahoo, the profit for the major integrated oil and gas industry was 9.6% for 2007. The profit margin for REIT/Healthcare Facilities was a whopping 48.5% and an even greater 81.7% for Closed End Equity funds. Any chance of those industries being punished with a windfall profits tax penalty? Not on your life. The rise of Liberalism in the United States has led to a lessening of our standing in other nations around the world. We just don’t appear to be as strong a nation as we use to.

Because of this the value of the dollar is plummeting, and since most of the world oil trades are based on the US dollar, it is costing us more to purchase the oil. The value against the world currencies is changing as well. The newest standard world currency is the Euro, and here are the treasury rates;

Euro value to US $

April 2007 1.5754
February 2008 1.5520
March 2008 1.4759
April 2008 1.3513

So you can see where our US dollar value against just the Euro alone has declined about 23 cents in the last year, with the last three months taking the biggest hit. But as you can see, we just aren’t worth as much as we once were in the world market. That is the real issue that we should be addressing. When November gets here, remember that only by electing a strong President willing to be a world leader will we be able to see things turn around. Unfortunately, I don’t see one anywhere in the pack. Or should I say PAC.


Matthew 25:26-28 (King James Version)

26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.

E10 For ME?

Posted: 27/05/2008 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,
E10 for ME? That’s a loaded question if I ever heard one. With the growing insurgence of this questionable fuel, it’s time somebody takes a good look at it and answer the question. So far it seems we have two camps entrenched in opposing positions on the subject. One says it’s the worst thing to put in your tank, the other say’s it’s the best. One of the arguments I’ve heard in support of the usage of ethanol is its widespread usage in other countries. According to some reporters, over 80% of the vehicles in Brazil are Ethanol powered.

So it was only a matter of time before this bird came to roost in good old Maine. Of course, the biggest promoter of the use of bio-fuels are those harbingers of doom, the global warming activists. That alone is enough to make me question the viability of the usage of bio-fuels here in Maine. Is it a good idea or not? Is it safe or not? Is it really more efficient or not? I could go an and on asking questions, but they still wouldn’t get answered. A venue such as this one really cannot do the argument any justice, whether for or against, but I’ll do my best. My puny little brain will have to work overtime on this one.

First of all, you have to realize that there are three separate arguments intertwined in the use of ethanol as a fuel. The big one is the global warming issue, which isn’t going to go away anytime soon. Eventually it will, but the damage will already have been done, much to the resulting detriment of environmental and conservation efforts. Sooner or later people will wise up to the fact that the only ones who benefitted from the global warming hysteria are those who invested in green technology.

The second issue is the so called peak oil argument, where it has been claimed that the world’s supply of oil will peak very soon, if it already hasn’t and then start to decline The resulting shortages and chaos from the lack of oil based fuel will probably cause a good portion of the world’s societies to crumble, or at least stumble into failure. And then of course there’s he argument nobody really thought of too much beforehand. How will the production of ethanol affect food stock production, since much of the worlds ethanol is made from food crops?

Since we have to deal with this in a nutshell fashion, I’ll just briefly touch upon some points. As far as the global warming angle goes, I really do not believe that the issue should be addressed. Mostly because there is more credible evidence that ongoing climate change is just a natural part of the earth’s cycles and patterns. As much as they would like to claim they have done so, the Al Gore crowd have not presented irrefutable evidence that anthropogenic emissions are the cause of global warming. Nor have they been able to prove that the world is even warming as fast as they claim, or to the extent they have claimed. The preponderance of evidence they use to develop their theories of global climate change are actually based on computer models and simulations.

Statistical analysis is a valuable tool, and is in fact generated with computer models, but those models are based in fact, and upon historical data. The statistics developed by the green crowd and presented as fact are actually predictions of the future. No man may tell what tomorrow will bring us. They can only guess. And so far, none of the predictions have come to pass. But because of intense promotion and effective marketing of these theories and predictions, a large potion of the population have come to believe global warming as being fact.

The second aspect of this argument is the peak oil theory. I consider that hogwash right from the get go. Mostly because oil supplies actually started to decline when the first bucket was removed from the ground by mankind. Oil is not being produced in any way shape or form, anywhere. Therefore, the level of supply was at its peak before we discovered it. Common sense says that the supply of oil will in fact disappear at some point. But the question is when? If the consumption stays at the level it is today, we may well have 100 years or more of oil still in the ground. Personally, I don’t see rate of consumption remaining constant, but I see no need to view the current situation as something to hyperventilate over. We don’t need to jump onto an alternative fuel just because some people would have us panic.

So that brings us to the big question of is it necessary to use E10 in Maine? Necessary? Absolutely not. A good idea? Possibly. Is it a good idea? That’s where I start to have a problem with E10. There hasn’t been enough information disseminated to the public for us to make an educated choice in the matter. But from what I have read, while some areas of the world have had adequate results from the use of E10, I’ve read enough bad things about it where I would question its viability in Maine’s climate.

On 08 May, ‘08 I discussed my basic feelings on the subject and showed some of my reasoning.
http://dlsoucy.blogspot.com/2008/05/e10-has-arrived-in-maine.html and also at http://dlsoucy.blogspot.com/2008/05/watering-down-whiskey.html on 01 May ‘08.

My position hasn’t changed on the use of this fuel, but I believe more strongly than ever that we are going to see rising repair costs, hard starting in the winter, more frozen gas lines along with other problems. At least with older cars. And that’s what most people here in amine have, older cars.

The general consensus in most of the forums I’ve visited is that E10 usually contributes to a decline in mileage of about 5 % in average vehicles. Some have a greater reduction and some have less. Either way, you’ll experience a drop in mileage in older vehicles. Newer models of five years old or less seem to do fine with it as they are designed to work with certain blends of ethanol and petroleum based fuel. Some websites actually suggest that you may experience a decline of as much as 20%.

One of the big issues I’m looking into is the possibility of gas line freeze ups and clogged filters. Those seem to be the two biggest complaints I’ve read and heard. But overall, the direction the investigation is taking is that ethanol is not all its advertised to be. The fuel is high in oxygen content, which raises the octane rating, but octane doesn’t equate to energy, which is BTU’s. The BTU rating for ethanol is lower than in petroleum based fuels. Much lower. That equates to a fuel that is less efficient, so it takes more to do the same work as petro fuel. Not only that, while the global warming activists are jumping all over the fact that the biofuel emits lower levels of CO2, they neglect to mention that it also emits 30% more NO and other acid rain causing emissions. The end result of using biofuel is that we will be returning to the past as far as clean air goes.

For a full discussion surrounding the claims of ethanol usage and whether or not it is a practical alternative, a good source is http://www.archive.org/details/Myths_of_Biofuels at the Prelinger Archives.

Bottom line is, out of all the sources reviewed, everyone that had a way to gain, financially or emotionally, from the use and promotion of E10 had positive things to say about cold weather operations. Those that had no way to gain reported problems such as hard starting, lower mileage, erratic operation and frozen lines. I feel as though E10 has some limited benefit, but I also feel as though it is wrong for the consumers to not have a choice in products. I’ll take pure petro fuel any day.


Ezekiel 15:3-5 (King James Version)

3 Shall wood be taken thereof to do any work? or will men take a pin of it to hang any vessel thereon?
4 Behold, it is cast into the fire for fuel; the fire devoureth both the ends of it, and the midst of it is burned. Is it meet for any work?
5 Behold, when it was whole, it was meet for no work: how much less shall it be meet yet for any work, when the fire hath devoured it, and it is burned?


The LURC staff has released a schedule of changes that they wish Plum Creek to make to their proposal for rezoning and development in the Moosehead Region this past week. Seems kind of strange to me that they would do that. Maybe it’s just business as usual, but I would think that the LURC would be required to give either a yes or no on the approval decision, and nothing more. Sounds like another case of let’s make a deal. I’d compare it to somebody going to the county courthouse to file paper on a complaint, and having the clerk give them advice on how to win the case. Something like that just isn’t done. Who knows, maybe they took some coaching from Senator Baucus of Montana.

Now there’s a guy who knows how to play the deal game. As a bit of background to this statement, let just say that we’re going to be giving Plum Creek Timber over two hundred million on a piece of TNC brokered easement land in Montana, thanks to the recently passed poker of the year, the Farm Bill, H.R. 2419. According to a press release by the RSC the Baucus Bonds Earmark allows up to 500 million dollars in tax exempt bonds to be issued on behalf of state and local governments as well as nonprofit groups for the use of purchasing lands for conservation.

Granted, there were a lot of special interest earmarks, and it looks like at least some of them may possibly have been connected to campaign contributions. No direct proof of course, but the trail still exists. After all, if you track a beast in the woods long enough, sooner or later, you’re bound to step in something. But let’s look at this deal of Montana’s Senator Baucus involving Plum Creek Timber and The Nature Conservancy.

The funding portion is simple and straight forward, sort of, and direct to the point of the reason for the earmark. Baucus says he doesn’t call it an earmark by the way. The item is called the “Forestry Bonds Program.” How it works is a state or nonprofit agency is allowed to issue up to 500 million dollars in tax credit bonds. An investor or investment group would then ‘buy’ the bonds. In return, the investor would receive a tax credit of somewhat more than the initial $500 million.The state or nonprofit then would use a portion of the money to purchase key lands.
Whatever money remains after the sale would be invested, so that when the bond matured, the issuer could pay back to the federal treasury the $500 million in deferred taxes.The provision would cost taxpayers an estimated $250 million over 10 years n the additional tax credit claimed by the bond buyer, plus the interest lost on tax money not collected.An alternative allows the state or nonprofit to forego the bonds and simply receive a $250 million payout from the federal government for purchase of the forest lands.

An interesting point brought up about this program is that TNC would be allowed to apply for, and receive a tax refund of 250 million dollars. Interesting point since TNC, being a nonprofit organization, pays no taxes. But what makes this an especially troublesome bond program is the requirements of the land considered for the program.

In order to qualify for the “Forestry Bond” program, the forested parcels must;

1. be adjacent to U.S. Forest Service lands,
2. must be at least 40,000 acres in size,
3. must be covered by a native fish conservation plan approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and,
4. It must be subject to a native fish habitat conservation plan approved by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

After researching the attributes and possible candidates, the Republican Study Committee found there was only one piece of land in all of America that qualified for the bonds. That was a piece of land in Montana that is owned by Plum Creek Timber. TNC wants to purchase that same land, place their easement contracts upon it and turn around and sell it to the taxpayers by way of the USFWS.

According to some reports, This process began in 2000. To date there has been little progress in coming up with the funds in Montana to make the deal work, so TNC/Plum Creek put the word out to Baucus. Baucus tried to place the same earmark on the Energy Bill for “06-“07 and was shot down then. Finally getting it through on the Farm Bill, the supporters of the deal are ecstatic over the result.

Perhaps this might not seem so bad. After all, conservation is a good thing, to a point. A lot of people would be upset if some developer charged in and raped the wilderness like Tom Blixseth did to the Yellowstone Club and other developers at other mega resorts. Ever notice that camping just doesn’t seem like camping sometimes? Like when you’re kind of doing the John Denver thing and sitting by the evening fire and passing the whatever around. All of a sudden some bozo in the next campsite fires up a blender to make Margaritas. Snap, crackle whirr. The world may not in fact be getting smaller, but it sure seems like it sometimes. We need to preserve all we can before it’s too late.

Another Blog called “The Last Best Place” had these comments to make on the issue;

“Plum Creek spent some $220,000 lobbying Congress in the first quarter of this year. Its PAC has spread $400,000 in campaign contributions between the parties in the last decade. PCL Employees have given $16,600 this cycle to Sen. Max Baucus (D., Mont.), chairman of the Senate Finance committee and the author of the bond provision”.

So in three months Plum Creek has spent nearly one quarter of a million dollars lobbying Congress so far this year, over half of what they have spent in the last decade. And Baucus gets sixteen thousand of it. Maybe it’s just me, but the appearances are that TNC and Plum Creek bought themselves an earmark. And of course, TNC and Plum Creek are trying to get approval to make some deals they cooked up working in Maine’s Northwood’s by way of the Moosehead Lake Concept Plan they’ve submitted.

Naturally, being the prying sort of writer that I am, I started to look into the political contributions Plum Creek has made in the State of Maine, just to see what’s what. Plum Creek has indeed been donating quite freely, to all parties it seems. State financial records dealing with the issue have quite a few entries concerning Plum Creek. Most of them are for $250.00 or less of course, but the PAC’s have been blessed with some large sums, as well as some nonprofit groups.

Go to http://www.mainecampaignfinance.com/Public/search.asp and do some research. Just type Plum Creek into the search box and hit go. There’s quite a lot of data for public consumption. For instance, I learned that on 18 Sept. “07, Plum Creek made a donation of $25,000.00 to a group called Citizens to Save Maine’s Heritage. Who are they? Well, they are a Political Action Committee, or PAC, who claims to be a Project of the Conservation Campaign. Which means? It means that the group accepts donations from larger contributors and parcels them out as a way to get around the campaign finance laws.

And other groups get to participate as well. Groups like the Natural resources Council of Maine, The Georges River Land Trust, The Trust for Public Lands, The Nature Conservancy and so forth. Yes that’s right. All of these groups have benefitted from Plum Creek’s donations through the Citizens to Save Maine’s Heritage PAC. Some of the very same groups that stand to rake in a huge sum of money if this plan gets approved. There are quite a few names who have received donations in differing amounts from Plum Creek in Maine over the last few years. Do we have a Baucus in Maine? Maybe, maybe not. There isn’t enough information yet to tell, but I intend to keep digging. Remember what I said the other day about politics being like laundry?


Luke 16:1-3 (King James Version)

1 And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.
2 And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward.
3 Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.