Bipartisan Colo. lawmakers press for wind credit extension

Source: Elana Schor • E&E • Posted: Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Two Colorado Republicans yesterday joined their state’s Democratic lawmakers in backing a wind tax credit set to expire at year’s end, underscoring the degree to which the swing state has become a political asset to renewable-power groups pushing for its extension.

In a letter to bipartisan leaders of conference committee talks on a payroll tax-cut deal, which is mired in political combat despite some Democrats’ hopes to make it a vehicle for clean-energy tax extenders, seven Colorado lawmakers urged that the wind production tax credit (PTC) get new life beyond its scheduled demise.

“Since its inception, the wind PTC has driven economic growth across the nation, including substantial growth in Colorado,” the state’s Democratic senators, Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, wrote alongside Reps. Diana DeGette (D), Ed Perlmutter (D), Scott Tipton (R), Cory Gardner (R) and Jared Polis (D) in their letter.

“Our state is a wind energy leader, currently generating the third highest percentage of power from wind of any state in the nation.

The Coloradans’ call, accompanied by endorsements from clean-energy groups within the state, came hours ahead of a separate show of support for the PTC expected today from biomass, geothermal and hydropower interests that also have access to the tax benefit.

The top Democratic emissary to the payroll tax-cut negotiations, Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus of Montana, has vowed to press for inclusion of the PTC and other green-energy tax extenders. But members of the president’s party are beginning to look for other avenues to keep the tax credits alive amid growing signals that the tax cut’s status could lapse amid partisan recriminations (E&E Daily, Feb. 7).

Two Colorado Republicans, Reps. Doug Lamborn and Mike Coffman, did not sign yesterday’s letter.