We can now add Mascoma Corporation to the long list of underachieving ‘green’ companies being propped up by a wasteful government bureaucracy. Mascoma, a New Hampshire bio-fuel company, received $40 million in state and federal subsidies in 2008 for a project in Michigan that, according to a report by the Washington Examiner, has fallen well short of expectations. As a reward for creating three green jobs in three years with their first $40 million in subsidies, Department of Energy officials gave the company access to an additional $80 million.
“The company warned the federal government, in its SEC filing, that it has “no experience in the markets in which we intend to operate” — which perhaps explains why it only created three jobs from 2008 to 2011, despite promising to create 70 jobs, according to Capitol Confidential. That means that the Michigan government and DOE, in combining to give the company $40 million in 2008, spent $13.3 million on each job.
Even so, DOE signed an $80 million cooperative agreement with Mascoma in December, 2011. “Biofuels hold great potential, not only for reducing our dependence on foreign oil, but also for creating new jobs and economic opportunities for America’s rural communities,” Valerie Reed, the Acting Biomass Program Manager in Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy of the DOE said at the time.”
There is nothing objectionable about a bio-fuel company trying to create jobs and reduce dependence on foreign oil. If companies like Mascoma want to take that entrepreneurial risk, more power to them. However, there is nothing noble about engaging in crony capitalism. Private sector companies should be allowed to sink or swim without government interference. Federal agencies, in this instance the Department of Energy, are simply picking winners and losers in the private sector based on which companies best suit Obama’s political agenda. Doing so only wastes taxpayer dollars and further undermines the free market.
This post was authored by Townhall Editorial Intern, Kyle Bonnell.