Group will promote candidates who favor wind energy

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Wind advocates are forming a new group today to elect candidates around the country who are friendly to the industry.

American Wind Action is launching with a seven-figure budget, a new website and digital ads. Its board of directors includes Sam Enfield, principal of Windline Development LLC; Jeff Clark, executive director of the Wind Coalition in Texas; and Jim Reilly, senior vice president at the American Wind Energy Association.

“In addition to its focus on ensuring that the public understand the importance of wind to energy policy and communities across the country, AWA will also help elect candidates who are strong advocates for wind, and work to defeat candidates who oppose wind energy with a leading-edge grassroots effort in the 2016 campaign,” the group said in a statement.

As a 501(c)(4) organization, the group can engage in lobbying and other political activities, although the majority of its money is supposed to be dedicated to “social welfare” under existing law. Government watchdog groups have lobbied to change the rules governing 501(c)(4) organizations so that they disclose their donors in the same way as congressional campaigns (E&E Daily, Dec. 17, 2015).

“We will be working to identify and activate supporters of wind energy to encourage action from their elected officials, and we will educate the public about the actions and positions those officials take on wind energy,” Enfield and Clark said in a statement.