Multi-State Tour Calls on Congress to Save American Jobs

A multi-state tour focused on the need to renew the Production Tax Credit begins today. The tour includes a furloughed worker from a central Pennsylvania wind turbine blade plant, along with local wind workers and labor and environmental leaders.

September 25, 2012

Local Leaders and Workers in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Virginia to Urge Congressional Leaders to Save American Jobs 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 25, 2012) The BlueGreen Alliance today announced a multi-state tour focused on the need to save American jobs by renewing the Production Tax Credit, a 2.2-cent per kilowatt-hour tax incentive for wind energy that expires at the end of the year. The tour includes a furloughed worker from central Pennsylvania wind turbine blade plant, along with local wind workers on the ground and labor and environmental leaders in the three states.

Since this summer, more than 2,000 workers in the wind industry have been laid-off or furloughed and companies have cited the lack of certainty on the tax incentive as a main cause of them. Renewing the Production Tax Credit will put people back to work and protect the jobs of 37,000 more workers who stand to lose their jobs if it is not renewed.

“Congress is out there campaigning for their own jobs while leaving thousands of wind industry workers out to dry,” said David Foster, the Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “For the sake of saving jobs and lifting up American competitiveness and the economy, Congress must renew the Production Tax Credit.”

Beginning Tues., Sept. 25, 2012, the tour will make stops in Pittsburgh, Pa., Columbus and Dayton, Ohio and Kalamazoo, Mich. with a final stop in Richmond, Va. on Friday, September 28th.

“Without the Production Tax Credit, the U.S. wind industry stands to lose significant ground, and America will lose our edge in the global competition for good jobs,” said Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club. “By failing to act, we’d be putting the brakes on both a growing industry and an important alternative energy source. We can reduce pollution, make America more energy independent and leave a lasting positive environmental and economic legacy for future generations if we renew this job-creating tax incentive today.”

The American Wind Energy Association estimates that the Production Tax Credit will allow the wind industry to grow from 75,000 current jobs to over 100,000 jobs in four years and will continue toward supporting 500,000 jobs by 2030.

“It was tough news when I heard about the furloughs at the Gamesa plant in Ebensberg, Pa., which included my job,” said Ryan Motel, member of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 2635. “I hope that those in Congress will see my face, hear my voice and have a better idea of who they are hurting because they haven’t passed the Production Tax Credit.”

Job losses in the industry continue to add up. Last week, in the biggest single layoff to date in number of workers and states affected in the U.S., wind equipment manufacturer Siemens Energy, Inc. announced it would lay off 615 workers in Iowa, Kansas, and Florida due in part to Congress’ inaction on renewing the Production Tax Credit. Recent layoffs have also been announced in Tulsa, Okla., Little Rock, Ark., Hinesburg, Vt. and Pueblo, Colo.

“The Production Tax Credit was vital to establishing the American wind market years ago and it’s vital today in order to expand wind-industry manufacturing,” said United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard.  “Other job creating tax credits, like the 48C Advanced Energy Project Credit, which fostered innovation and created jobs in clean energy projects while spurring private investment, expired last year and should be revisited as well. We need to act on the opportunity at-hand to build up our clean energy industries for the good of workers, our economy and the environment.”

Before the August recess, a Senate committee moved forward a bill to the floor that included the Production Tax Credit for wind energy and the Investment Tax Credit for offshore wind, however both remain stalled in the House of Representatives.