A group of veterans will present petitions signed by their fellow vets from around the country urging Congress to extend the wind tax credit before the end of the year. Many veterans are now employed by the wind industry.
The veterans will be joined by a bipartisan group of lawmakers at an event Wednesday pressing Congress to extend a wind energy incentive. They will meet with lawmakers Wednesday and Thursday to gain support for a one-year extension to the wind credit, which expires Dec. 31.
Senators. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Mark Udall (D-CO) along with Representatives Jerry McNerney (D-CA.) and Steve King (R-IA), will push the wind industry as a job creator. The lawmakers also will present the veterans petition to Congress.
The production tax credit or PTC pays wind power producers 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour, and it is a vital tool for attracting investment in the growing industry. Estimates are the PTC leverages $15 billion in investor money a year. Despite that, the PTC’s future is uncertain. Wind manufacturers have already laid off workers in anticipation of dwindling sales next year.
Wind advocates tried to get the Democratic Senate to pass the wind credit before Congress went on a long pre-election vacation. Even though there were enough Senators to pass the bill, Republicans threatened to filibuster and there were not 60 votes to bring it up to a vote. The votes are not there in the Republican controlled House due to opposition from oil and gas companies.
For now, the wind credit’s fate waits on “fiscal cliff” negotiations between the White House and Congress. Grassley said earlier this month that the Senate would wait to move the $205 billion tax extenders package that includes the wind incentive in order to give Obama and Boehner time to work on a deal.
Republican fiscal conservatives say the $5 billion price tag for extending it is too much, but in many cases that is just a talking point. The PTC is opposed by the fossil fuel industry. The same people who think we can’t afford the wind credit have no problem forking over $4 billion a year to oil and gas companies who are more profitable now then at any time in history.
While congress looks for ways to block the wind credit, representatives of most nations are gathered in Doha, Qatar to find a solution to climate change. If Congress will not extend the PTC, the United States will look a little foolish trying to get other countries to reduce carbon pollution while we double down.
So, the future of the wind energy waits on political gamesmanship in a gridlocked Congress. Perhaps the veterans can break through.
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