TOM WARD - Could our lost millions have secured PawSox?

TOM WARD - Could our lost millions have secured PawSox?

Well, there goes another $24 million out the window!

In the past week, we learned that the state and feds lost those funds – over a three-year period – in a case where a state attorney who had been stripped of his right to practice law, Gregory Hazian, missed an appeal deadline in a Medicaid payment dispute brought by nursing homes.

This is just one of the tentacles of the ongoing (it will never end, by the way) calamity involving the flawed UHIP computer system that was supposed to consolidate welfare, health care, and food payments to those in need, as well as to those outsiders who have figured out how to game the system.

Gov. Gina Raimondo, just five months from her re-election bid, has another big smelly mess on her hands, with $5 million to spend on the advertising disinfectant she hopes will kill the stench of it.

You know what strikes me? If you put those lost dollars in the PawSox pot, our baseball problem might have gone away. The entire battle, still ongoing, with PawSox owners to pay for a new stadium might have all disappeared a year ago if we said, “Yeah, we have millions to throw in.” Instead, we lost it when a state employee/attorney of questionable ability (read Tuesday’s Providence Journal story) didn’t do his job.

Time to “scoop” 911 money again, I guess.

What will it cost?

Is the answer to all our energy problems “blowin’ in the wind?” One hopes so. My question: How much will we be forced to pay for it? Before being pushed out of the news cycle by the $24 million mess during the weekend, Raimondo and Deepwater Wind announced Revolution Wind, a 400-megawatt wind farm in Rhode Island Sound, with hundreds of jobs. To the east, Massachusetts will build another 800-megawatt farm. Combined, the massive wind farms would produce more energy than the proposed 900- to 1,000-megawatt natural gas power plant proposed in Burrillville.

My take on this: I’m OK with wind turbines miles offshore. But when the May 31 Journal story ran out of political high-fives and got to the end, it came to our daily reality. Wrote Alex Kuffner, “The price of power from the Revolution project is still uncertain.” Its cousin, the Block Island Wind Farm, “will ultimately cost ratepayers (that’s us!) hundreds of millions of dollars in above-market costs.”

One day later, an opinion column also appeared in the Journal, by Meredith Angwin, of Vermont, a physical chemistry researcher and pro-nuclear power advocate. The headline: “We’ll lose power in the winters ahead.” In it, she detailed the now well-known facts surrounding the coming closing of many of New England’s traditional electric plants.

Part of the problem is that natural-gas-fired plants can’t get enough fuel from pipelines in the winter, when gas goes to where it is needed most: home heating. More gas pipelines are needed, but they are fought tooth and nail by environmental extremists hoping to keep “fracked gas” in the ground below Pennsylvania and Ohio forever.

The consequences, according to Angwin, are dire. “Rolling blackouts are probably coming to New England sooner than expected,” she begins. And her opinion is based on an ISO - New England study that looks at various scenarios around our power delivery in the future.

Sustainable energy is coming, but it’s costly and less predictable. Putting the specifics of Burrillville aside, fossil fuels are part of our future, too, because the energy from them is far more concentrated, powerful, and predictable.

What I know with 100 percent certainly is this: If in eight years rolling blackouts come to New England during the winter, families who live here will have been put in danger by radical environmentalism and the politicians who practice that religion. Short-sighted decisions from a decade earlier will come home to roost as energy costs explode, children shiver, schools close, and businesses grind to a halt. Those who caused the problem will be long gone. Reasoned people need to demand predictable power today.

Ward is publisher of The Valley Breeze