The following post is from Erin Bzymek, Press Secretary.
After a long campaign season and hopefully a restive and reflective Thanksgiving break, lawmakers are back, working to check off items on a long “to do” list before the short lame duck session of Congress wraps up in December. Looming large over the next few weeks are legislative priorities such as an agreement to avert the fiscal cliff, expiring Bush tax cuts, and an issue that hasn’t received the attention it deserves this week, the Production Tax Credit, crucial for the wind industry.
While the importance of averting the fiscal cliff can’t be diminished, it shouldn’t entirely overshadow important priorities that can save and create jobs immediately across the country.
The PTC, a 2.2 cent per kilowatt hour for new wind energy projects, is crucial to the wind industry, and the nearing expiration date on December 31 has already forced hundreds of layoffs in the wind and manufacturing industries.
Groups outside the beltway are bringing much needed attention to this issue while Congress has delayed addressing it.
On Wednesday, Environmental Minnesota released a report concluding that wind turbines in Minnesota alone save the equivalent in greenhouse gas emissions of taking 757,000 cars off the road each year. Minnesota now gets about 13 percent of its electricity from wind, the fourth-highest amount of any state.
“We can continue on this path of cutting dangerous pollution and saving water if Congress acts now to extend critical wind incentives” said Michelle Hesterberg of Environment Minnesota to the Duluth News Tribune. “Our message to Congress is clear: Don’t let wind power blow off the fiscal cliff.”
Thursday, a petition signed by 3,500 veterans from across the country was released jointly by PTC champions Sens. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Reps. Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.) and Steve King (R-Iowa). Hundreds of veterans have found work in the wind industry post-military.
"Already over the past several months we’ve seen the real-life effects of Congress’ failure to quickly extend what is a common sense tax credit," Udall told reporters at the Capitol.
The same week world leaders convened in Doha, Qatar to tackle the challenges posed by climate change on a global scale, Environment America released a new report, “Wind Power for a Cleaner America: Reducing Global Warming Pollution, Cutting Air Pollution and Saving Water,” on how diversifying energy sources domestically can contribute to reducing emissions across the world.
According to DomesticEnergy.com the report “…states that over the next three years, at the current rate of expansion, power generation from wind energy would double, and with that growth would come increased environmental and public health benefits. Should this come to fruition, wind energy would then prevent as much global warming pollution as taking an additional 11 million cars off the road, and save enough water to supply an additional 600,000 people.”
The PTC is one of the best and easiest ways to build on the economic growth over the past year. The alternative, failing to renew the PTC, is not an option. Join the BlueGreen Alliance, its partners, and thousands of others across the country to urge Congress stop delaying, and renew the PTC!