Why is Harry Reid browbeating the state’s electric utility company to close a coal-fired power plant and buy expensive electricity from a solar farm that a Chinese company plans to build near Laughlin?
Is it campaign money? Is it pay back time? Is it family and friends? Is it just the intoxicating thrill of wielding power?
You’ve read about Harry’s demands of this and that over the past few years here and in the Review-Journal. Today writer Andrew Stiles pulls together a fairly good synopsis of the power grab, if you will, for The Washington Free Beacon. It is chock full of links to the original material, much from the Review-Journal.
Stiles makes no pretense of objectivity, he builds a case. The headline offers a hint of the tone: “Dirty Harry’s Clean Energy Cronyism: How Harry Reid has been pulling strings for Chinese solar energy company.”
In writing about the ENN Mojave Energy deal, he writes about “sweetheart deals,” “pulling strings behind the scene” and “secret negotiations.”
Stiles writes about Reid going to China and visiting ENN executives there and of ENN’s chairman speaking at Reid’s 2011 “green” energy summit.
“ENN hired Richard Bryan, a Democrat who served with Reid in the U.S. Senate from 1989 to 2001, to represent the company in negotiations with state and federal officials,” the story relates. “Reid’s son Rory is a partner at Bryan’s law firm.
He mentions campaign funds, Duke Energy, sweetheart deals from the Department of Energy and stimulus money thrown at various projects and friends of Harry.
But perhaps the underlying motive can be found in the 2011 annual report of Dick Bryan’s and Rory Reid’s lawfirm Lionel Sawyer & Collins.
It speaks in glowing terms of its work for ENN:
“The company retained Lionel Sawyer & Collins in April to help it achieve its ambitious goal to build an ‘eco-city,’ including a solar panel manufacturing center and an associated 800 – 1,000-megawatt solar generating facility and a demonstration facility for cutting-edge renewable technologies with an associated research and development park. This major project, proposed for development over the next decade, is anticipated to require a capital investment of up to $5 billion and create hundreds of construction jobs by 2015 and hundreds of permanent positions during the first five years. Senator Richard Bryan led the Lionel Sawyer & Collins team in negotiating and obtaining approval for the purchase of 9,000 acres of public land near Laughlin, Nevada, from the Clark County Commission …”
“The company tapped Lionel Sawyer & Collins’ Linda Bullen to guide First Solar through the complex legal and regulatory issues associated with the development of their project in Primm, Nevada. Silver State North, a 50-megawatt PV facility, is nearing completion and will be the first solar facility located on federal land …”
“(It) will be located on federal land administered by the Bureau of Land Management near Searchlight, Nevada. With Linda Bullen’s assistance, this project is on track to obtain federal environmental permits and approvals in 2012. The Searchlight Wind project will add to Duke Energy’s 251 megawatts of wind-generated capacity.”
“A team at Lionel Sawyer & Collins led by Dan Reaser, William McKean, and Colleen Dolan assisted Amargosa Valley Solar I, LLC, in connection with the company’s permitting with the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada and federal environmental impact study process for a 500-megawatt solar electric generating facility in the Amargosa Valley, Nevada.”
“Two hurdles facing the development and delivery of renewable energy sources in Nevada are connecting these often geographically remote projects to the electric grid and acquiring needed financing in a troubled economic environment. Lionel Sawyer & Collins is involved in efforts to address these issues. Mark Goldstein, Dan Reaser and Linda Bullen assisted the United States Department of Energy in the real estate, regulatory, environmental, and commercial due diligence to close a $343 million loan guarantee to develop a 500-kilovolt transmission line construction project connecting northern and southern Nevada and supporting the statewide delivery of both traditional electric generation and renewable energy sources. The line is jointly owned by Great Basin Transmission South, LLC and NV Energy. The One Nevada Transmission Line (ON Line) project will extend approximately 236 miles from the Harry Allen substation north of Las Vegas to a substation under construction west of Ely, Nevada.”