AWEA hires Carper chief of staff to lobby

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The American Wind Energy Association has hired a senior aide to Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) as its newest lobbyist, the group announced yesterday.
James Reilly, who has been Carper’s chief of staff since 2007, is joining AWEA to become senior vice president for federal legislative affairs, where he will oversee lobbying on Capitol Hill, grass-roots activism and the group’s political action committee.The industry’s top federal policy goal this year is securing a renewal of the production tax credit (PTC), which expired at the end of last year. A two-year extension was included in a tax extenders bill passed by the Senate Finance Committee last week, but its prospects in the full Senate and House remain unclear (Greenwire, April 3).Reilly “has worked effectively with both parties and various stakeholders to craft and drive workable public policies,” AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan said in a statement. “Jim is a strategic thinker with a pragmatic approach to short and long-range challenges. He is committed to progress on energy and environmental issues as well as business growth, and we are delighted to have him joining us at this critical juncture for American wind power.”

Carper is a member of the Finance Committee and has been a strong supporter of extending the PTC and the investment tax credit (ITC), which is important to offshore wind developers. Carper also has championed legislation to make the tax credits available for offshore wind development until a total of 3,000 megawatts of wind capacity has been installed off U.S. coastlines; none exists currently.

Reilly began working for Carper as finance director on his first Senate campaign in 2000, then served as a legislative assistant for environment, energy, agriculture and related appropriations issues. He worked for the British Embassy as an energy and environment adviser from 2005 to 2007 before returning to Carper’s office as chief of staff, according to the congressional staff database LegiStorm.

“One key to my success is to surround myself with smart, talented people who know how to get things done, and Jim is one of those. His perspective, intelligence, and ability to build consensus has been a significant part of my ability to accomplish things in the Senate,” Carper said of the move in a statement distributed by AWEA.