Critics look to tamp down green push in FAA extension

Source: Geof Koss, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Americans for Prosperity is once again urging lawmakers not to extend a key renewable tax break in upcoming legislation that would extend the authorization of the Federal Aviation Administration beyond next month’s July 15 expiration.

In a statement issued Friday, the group reiterated its opposition to extending the investment tax credit for wind, geothermal, fuel cells, and combined heat and power facilities for five years in the FAA extension, expected before the summer recess.

“Subsidies for green energy tax extenders have nothing to do with FAA reauthorization — or any upcoming omnibus spending legislation, for that matter,” AFP Director of Federal Affairs Christine Harbin said in a statement. “This is plain, old pork barreling.”

The statement comes as renewable energy advocates are pressing to fix what they call an oversight in last year’s end-of-year omnibus and tax package, which extended the ITC for solar for five years but not other qualifying sources (E&E Daily, June 15).

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has repeatedly said that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) promised to help fix the mistake, but efforts to do so in a broader FAA reauthorization collapsed in April, necessitating a short-term extension to keep the agency running.

At the time, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) blamed AFP’s announcement that it would “key vote” any FAA extension that included the breaks (E&ENews PM, April 12).

While Democrats say the omission of other qualifying sources was an error, House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) last year disputed the characterization. Nonetheless, he said he would take another look at the issue this year (E&E Daily, Dec. 18, 2015).

Senate Democrats have made clear they see the upcoming FAA extension as a viable vehicle to attach the ITC extension, as well, but steering the package through the House is widely seen as an uphill fight.