In response to an earlier post, Lynne commented that the mob is involved with wind generation in Sicily. The National Post has since picked up on the story:

The Financial Times reports that — apart from being expensive, unreliable and dependent on government subsidies — wind power can be dangerous to your kneecaps. In Siciliy (where else?) there are suspicions the mob is behind a number of wind-power projects, lured by the easy money on offer from government:

Multinationals are starting to find out something that is well known to Italian investors: that concealed beneath Europe’s most generous system of incentives – supported by “green credits” that industrial polluters have to purchase – there exists a web of corruption and shady deals.

Rossana Interlandi, recently appointed head of Sicily’s environment department, explains that project developers – she calls them “speculators” – were also lured by the appeal of a law that obliges Italy’s national grid operator to pay wind farm owners even when they are not producing electricity.

You can’t really blame them. The money is there and its legal. It’s as if the bureaucrats in the agriculture department were making policy. It’s right out of Catch-22:

Major Major’s father was a sober God-fearing man whose idea of a good joke was to lie about his age. He was a longlimbed farmer, a God-fearing, freedom-loving, law-abiding rugged individualist who held that federal aid to anyone but farmers was creeping socialism. He advocated thrift and hard work and disapproved of loose women who turned him down. His specialty was alfalfa, and he made a good thing out of not growing any. The government paid him well for every bushel of alfalfa he did not grow. The more alfalfa he did not grow, the more money the government gave him, and he spent every penny he didn’t earn on new land to increase the amount of alfalfa he did not produce. Major Major’s father worked without rest at not growing alfalfa. On long winter evenings he remained indoors and did not mend harness, and he sprang out of bed at the crack of noon every day just to make certain that the chores would not be done. He invested in land wisely and soon was not growing more alfalfa than any other man in the county. Neighbors sought him out for advice on all subjects, for he had made much money and was therefore wise. “As ye sow, so shall ye reap,” he counseled one and all, and everyone said, “Amen.

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