The Corner

Following the Money

Apparently, this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner will be so green they might as well be serving salad for all three courses. Of course, they’re still going to fly in Jay Leno to host, but that’s okay, because they’re offsetting it with credits from a Spanish-owned wind farm.

However, as my colleague Richard Morrison points out, that farm has been operational for a while. He asks some pertinent questions:

According to Politico’s Lisa Lerer, “Credits purchased for the dinner will help fund the Tatanka Wind Farm on the North Dakota–South Dakota border.”

So far, so good. Except that the Tatanka Wind Farm is already up and running — it went online in July of 2008. The project’s $381 million budget was financed by GE Energy Financial Services and Wachovia. And it’s operated by Acciona Energy, a multi-billion-dollar Spanish conglomerate with 40,000 employees and operations in 30 countries.

So, my question is, who is getting the White House Correspondents’ Association’s money? The shareholders of Acciona? GE and Wachovia (now Wells Fargo)? It’s one thing for carbon-offset money to, for example, fund a nonprofit organization in the developing world to manage a reforestation project, but how does it make any sense to pay money to a Spanish corporation for operating a wind farm that’s already been privately financed and has been producing energy for almost two years? Am I missing something here?

Perhaps it’ll go to help Al Gore buy another ocean-view mansion. What I’d like to know is, just what is he going to burn in those six fireplaces?

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