Tacking the Nat Gas Act onto transportation bill?

posted at 9:50 am on March 7, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

The massive, $109B transportation bill looked – briefly – like it might sail through Congress and to the President’s desk, but now it seems to have stalled again. The delay was not caused by some huge delegation of elected representatives suddenly waking up and realizing they have to spend our money more carefully, though. No, the snag came from one of the usual bugaboos… nobody can agree on all the amendments they want to tack on at the 11th hour.

While we should be giving each and every one of them due scrutiny, there is a particularly nasty one hiding in the weeds. It looks like some members are going to try to sneak the NAT GAS Act through on the transportation bill.

Capitol Hill sources report that a ruling by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will allow the Natural Gas Act to be included in Senate Res. 1813, “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century America Fast Forward Financing Innovation Act of 2011,” commonly referred to as the highway bill. The highway bill was debated by the Senate Tuesday. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who filed the Senate’s version of the Nat Gas Act in November, told us he added it to the highway bill last night.

We’ve covered the NAT GAS Act here before, so there’s no need to go into it all again. Natural Gas is a great source of energy and we’ve got a lot of it. It will do just fine without being subsidized by the taxpayer. But if we juice up this particular goose, who is going to profit the most? The first name which likely comes to many of your minds is probably T-Boone Pickens. And to be sure, Pickens would profit handsomely. But he’s not the only one.

George Soros and other top contributors to Democrats are one step closer to making millions of dollars off their natural gas investments, thanks to tax breaks and subsidies included in the Natural Gas Act which was filed March 5 as an amendment to the highway bill…

Chief among the beneficiaries of the Natural Gas Act is Soros Fund Management, which according to federal filings, owns 6.6 percent of Westport Innovations, a Vancouver, British Columbia-based natural gas engine distributor and manufacturer. The fund’s position is worth more than $135 million at today’s stock market price. Westport, with three partner factories in China, is a global leader in fuel systems and conversion kits.

It’s time to let your elected representatives know that this particular pile of pork doesn’t need to be fleeced from your pockets. There are plenty of valid items in the transportation bill which may wind up doing some good, but if these jokers really want to pass this subsidy, let it stand alone as its own bill and get everyone on record with a vote on it.


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