Who would have thought prisoners would be used instead of out-of-work Americans for producing solar panels?
GREEN ENERGY GULAG
From the Washington Free Beacon:
BY: Andrew Stiles
June 20, 2012
The Obama administration is using prison labor to advance its green energy agenda, enriching foreign companies and some of the president’s largest campaign donors in the process.
Federal Prison Industries, most commonly known by the trade name UNICOR, is a wholly owned subsidiary of the U.S. Department of Justice. Established by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1934, UNICOR was intended as a voluntary work-training program for federal inmates. It has recently gone into business supplying federal agencies with green energy technology such as solar panels.
Hundreds of federal inmates earn between $0.23 and $1.15 per hour manufacturing solar panels at UNICOR facilities in New York and Oregon. The panels are then sold to a variety of government agencies, which are obligated by law to purchase them.
One of the alleged rationales for the program is to allow federal agencies to purchase domestically produced solar panels at an affordable price. UNICOR’s website insists its solar panels “are domestically sourced and produced, meeting the requirements of the Buy American Act, Trade Agreement Act, and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.”
However, the agency signed a five-year $219 million contract in 2009 with Taiwan-based Motech Industries to provide the individual solar cells used to assemble the panels.
It is a common trick employed to get around “Buy American” restrictions, said Rep. Bill Huizenga (R., Mich.). Products manufactured using foreign components still qualify if they are physically assembled in the United States. “It’s yet another outrage on what is happening with our tax dollars,” he told the Washington Free Beacon. Huizenga has sponsored legislation to reform UNICOR in an effort to ensure that prison labor “is not taking business away from the private sector.”
UNICOR typically partners with private companies to install the panels and help the agencies put in place other energy-saving measures. Major beneficiaries of this system include Constellation Energy, which was recently acquired by the Exelon Corporation, a Chicago-based utility provider with deep ties to the Obama administration.
Less than two week after the two firms finalized their merger, Constellation won a 20-year contract to provide renewable energy to 10 State Department facilities, including its Foggy Bottom headquarters, as well as a portion of the White House campus.
The “first-of-its-kind federal contract” will help the department contribute to President Obama’s executive order mandating a 28-percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, according to a company press release. It will also spur the development of several new green energy projects facilities, including a 5-megwatt solar project in New Jersey that will use panels provide by UNICOR.
Constellation is one of the most prolific providers of green energy to federally owned facilities, sporting contracts with the General Services Administration (GSA) for the U.S. Capitol building, the Federal Reserve, the Smithsonian Institution, the United Nations building in New York, and a host of federal buildings in several states.
The company appears to have cornered a market that failed solar company Solyndra sought to break into before filing for bankruptcy in September 2011, despite receiving more than half a billion dollars in taxpayer-backed loans. Emails uncovered by congressional investigators reveal that former Solyndra CEO Chris Gronet “spoke very openly” with President Obama about “the need for installation of Solyndra’s rooftop solar on U.S. government buildings.”
Constellation, like Solyndra, received hundreds of millions of dollars for green energy projects in the 2009 stimulus package. The company, Peter Schweizer notes in Throw Them All Out, was identified as a promising investment by liberal billionaire George Soros, who bought 300,000 shares of Constellation that same year.
Constellation’s new parent company, Exelon, is one of the most politically connected firms in the country, as well as one of President Obama’s top sources of campaign contributions.
**Emphasis added to this piece**
What? Obama NOT using Union labor to produce these solar panels? Using hundreds of federal inmates earning between $0.23 and $1.15 per hour manufacturing solar panels at UNICOR facilities in New York and Oregon instead?
Corporate GREED Mr. Obama? The one thing you harp about over and over and over….. Do these Obama donors enriched by this process pay their “fair share”?
Hmmm…..the name Exelon rings a bell. Oh yeah…..look here!
Read about it by clicking on blue lettered link below:
Exelon and its bobbleheaded CEO John Rowe
Exelon helps Obama attack coal — again!
December 8, 2010
By Steve Milloy
Chicago-based utility Exelon is now funding efforts to help out the endangered Obama EPA in its jihad against the coal industry.
Last July, the EPA proposed its so-called “Clean Air Transport” rule to further regulate air emissions from coal-fired power plants. The EPA’s alleged concern is that the emissions travel interstate and reduce air quality (fine particulate matter and ground-level ozone) in 31 downwind states.
The rule was finalized in October and is scheduled to go into effect sometime in the spring — except that some coal-burning utilities are getting concerned about the timing of the rule and there is a new sheriff in D.C. (i.e., the GOP-controlled House with power over the EPA’s budget and the inclination to investigate the EPA).
The EPA estimates that the rule will provide anywhere from $120 billion to $290 billion in annual health and welfare benefits and avoid 14,000 to 36,000 premature deaths annually. (It’s too bad that these estimates are entirely bogus, otherwise the EPA could solve our deficit problems almost singlehandedly. But that is a story for another day).
The transport rule, of course, is in addition to the EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations that take effect on January 2, 2011 and the EPA’s January 2010 proposal to further ratchet-down the national air quality standards for ground-level ozone. This is a lot of expensive anti-coal regulation that places the EPA high on the new Congress’ “to do” list. So the Obama EPA has reason to be nervous.
Riding to the EPA’s assistance now is the Pacific Economics Group which just issued a report claiming that the EPA has actually underestimated the economic harm caused by interstate transport of coal plant emissions. According to the report:
Pollution from power plants that have failed to install pollution controls is causing nearly $6 billion in annual costs, because of higher labor expenses, lost work days, lost productivity, and higher insurance costs.
As a result of uncontrolled pollution in downwind regions, between 2005 and 2012:
- Businesses will suffer over $47 billion in costs;
- Over 360,000 jobs will be lost;
- State and local governments will lose almost $9.3 billion in tax revenue; and
- Families and businesses in polluted areas will pay $26.0 billion more for reformulated gasoline as a result of ongoing pollution.
Obama’s Exelon ties, Ayers connection
August 30, 2008 >>>**Note Date!
In his February 2008 NYT article, Mike McIntire wrote:
Since 2003, executives and employees of Exelon, which is based in Illinois, have contributed at least $227,000 to Mr. Obama’s campaigns for the United States Senate and for president. Two top Exelon officials, Frank M. Clark (right), executive vice president, and John W. Rogers Jr.(left), a director, are among his largest fund-raisers.
Another Obama donor, John W. Rowe, chairman of Exelon, is also chairman of the Nuclear Energy Institute, the nuclear power industry’s lobbying group, based in Washington. Exelon’s support for Mr. Obama far exceeds its support for any other presidential candidate.
In addition, Mr. Obama’s chief political strategist, David Axelrod, has worked as a consultant to Exelon. A spokeswoman for Exelon said Mr. Axelrod’s company had helped an Exelon subsidiary, Commonwealth Edison, with communications strategy periodically since 2002, but had no involvement in the leak controversy or other nuclear issues.
More than six months earlier, Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank wrote in the July 4, 2007 Dissident Voice:
To be sure small online donations have propelled the young senator to the top, but so too have his connections to big industry. The Obama campaign, as of late March 2007, has accepted $159,800 from executives and employees of Exelon, the nation’s largest nuclear power plant operator.
The Illinois-based company also helped Obama’s 2004 senatorial campaign. As Ken Silverstein reported in the November 2006 issue of Harper’s, ‘[Exelon] is Obama’s fourth largest patron, having donated a total of $74,350 to his campaigns.
In her May 2007 Las Vegas ReviewJournal op-ed, Erin Neff adds:
Exelon executives and employees have given $161,000 to Obama’s presidential bid. He’s received an additional $86,000 since 1998 from Exelon’s political action committee, employees and predecessor, Commonwealth Edison. Obama got money from the company in his 1998 bid for the Illinois state Senate and for his failed 2000 congressional campaign. Exelon also donated to Obama’s PAC and his successful 2004 U.S. Senate bid.
Read by clicking on blue lettered link below:
Exelon Corp. executives have pumped almost a quarter-million dollars into Obama’s Presidential campaign. The state of Illinois and the state of New York both consider ASK to be a lobbying firm. So, is Obama serious in his campaign promises, or as Ed Morrisey (2008) put it, “Is Obama’s Presidential Campaign merely another Axelrod public-relations Trojan Horse?”
Ah, but the story gets even better again.
Who became president of ComEd in 1964, served as chairman and CEO from 1973 to 1980, was the architect of ComEd’s nuclear power program in the 1960s and 1970s, and continued to exert his influence over the large utility until his death in 2007 (Napolitano, 2007)?
Who served on the boards of Sears, G.D. Searle, Chicago Pacific Corp., Zenith Corp., Northwest Industries, General Dynamics Corp. of St. Louis, First National Bank of Chicago, the Chicago Cubs and the Tribune (newspaper) Co. (Napolitano, 2007)?
Who was Chairman of the Board for the Chicago Urban League, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Erikson Institute, Bank Street College of Education in New York, Community Renewal Society, the Chicago Community Trust, and Northwestern University Board of Trustees (Napolitano, 2007)?
Who was described by his heirs as an “Agent of Change” and someone who ‘believed in change’ (Napolitano, 2007)?