Labor-enviro coalition targets key lawmakers with tour promoting PTC

Source: Hema Parmar, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, September 27, 2012

A coalition of labor unions and environmental groups started a multistate tour today to urge key Republican lawmakers to renew a key wind tax credit, warning that scrapping it will kill thousands of jobs.

“Congress must renew the production tax credit,” said David Foster, executive director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “The lives of real Americans are being disrupted; jobs are at stake as well as future environmental performance.”

The production tax credit gives wind developers a 2.2-cent-per-kilowatt-hour credit and is set to expire at the end of this year. The group is also calling for the renewal of the advanced energy project credit.

The BlueGreen Alliance’s three-day tour kicked off in Pittsburgh. It is scheduled to pass through Columbus and Dayton, Ohio, and Kalamazoo, Mich., before wrapping up Sept. 28 in Richmond, Va.

Foster said the tour would feature small demonstrations and target the districts of key House Republicans — Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton of Michigan, and Rep. Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania.

About 37,000 Americans could lose their jobs in the next six months, according to the American Wind Energy Association, an industry group.

“There have literally been thousands of manufacturing workers that have been laid off because of the failure to reauthorize the production tax credit,” Foster said.

Siemens Energy Inc. recently announced plans to lay off 615 workers across three states. Last month, Arkansas’ Clipper Windpower project cut 32 percent of its employees and Colorado’s Vestas wind turbine plant had two rounds of job cuts.

Yesterday, a group of 47 House Republicans submitted a letter to Boehner insisting the wind production tax credit expire. They say the free market — not government backing — should determine whether energy projects succeed or fail (E&ENews PM, Sept. 24).