Interest grows in Senate for phaseout of production tax credit

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Amid growing pressure to extend a key wind industry tax credit, a growing number of senators are saying they would like to see the credit phased out over several years — a proposal the wind industry said yesterday it could support.

Noisy wind farm petition can move forward, judge rules

E&E • Posted: Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

A legal petition aimed at reinstating a state rule for curbing noise from a Maine wind farm can move forward, a judge ruled Friday, denying a motion for dismissal from the farm’s developer.

Americans split on energy production vs. environmental protection — poll

Source: Pamela King, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Americans are just about evenly divided on whether to prioritize energy production or environmental protection, according to the results of a new Gallup poll.

Lawmakers, advocates already looking to lame-duck vote on energy tax extenders

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Whatever happens on Election Day, members of the 112th Congress will have to return to Washington following their victory parties or concession speeches with a full slate of legislative business to complete before the year is over, including deciding whether to extend a suite of renewable energy tax breaks that are now scheduled to disappear after Dec. 31. Expectations that the lame-duck session will be a busy one are growing on Capitol Hill, as activity is expected to soon wind down so members can focus on their re-election campaigns. But that doesn’t mean lawmakers are looking forward to the end-of-the-year rush, which will be accompanied by the bruised feelings that inevitably follow a hard-fought election season.

Neighbors Win Court Round Over Wind Farm Noise

Source: DIANE CARDWELL, New York Times • Posted: Monday, March 26th, 2012

A legal petition aimed at reinstating a state rule for limiting noise at a controversial wind farm in Maine can proceed, a judge ruled on Friday, denying a motion from the farm’s developer, Fox Islands Wind, for dismissal.

Interior finalizes wildlife-protection guidelines for wind projects

Source: Laura Petersen, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, March 26th, 2012

The Interior Department released voluntary guidelines for wind energy developers today aimed at limiting bird kills and minimizing other damage to natural resources. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the “common sense” guidelines should steer wind projects away from places where they would have an outsized impact on wildlife and provide developers certainty and flexibility.

Finance Committee to examine tax breaks

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, March 26th, 2012

Amid intense lobbying from the wind and other renewable energy interests angling for an extension of coveted tax breaks set to expire at the end of this year and continued efforts to reinstate a key stimulus-funded grant program that expired last year, a Senate Finance subcommittee will hear from analysts and industry representatives about how the uncertainty around tax policy is affecting business. The Energy, Natural Resources and Infrastructure Subcommittee will consider the issue tomorrow, a day after the Senate votes on the latest effort to extend expiring measures like the production tax credit for wind. The Monday vote, on a bill from Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) that would extend the PTC while eliminating certain tax benefits for large oil companies, is widely expected to fail, but lawmakers say the issue of how to provide incentives for renewable energy likely will remain prominent on Capitol Hill for the rest of the year.

A Tally of Green Jobs

Source: JOHN M. BRODER, NEW YORK TIMES • Posted: Friday, March 23rd, 2012

For the first time, the federal government on Thursday released an estimate of the number of so-called green jobs in the United States economy, saying that 3.1 million people are employed in the production of goods and services that benefit the environment. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, a unit of the Labor Department, spent more than a year compiling its report, which found that green goods and services accounted for 2.4 percent of total United States employment in 2010. The study, based on a survey of employers and a relatively broad definition of the term ”green,” will provide a baseline against which future job growth or decline can be measured.

U.S. Inches Toward Goal of Energy Independence

Source: CLIFFORD KRAUSS and ERIC LIPTON, New York Times • Posted: Friday, March 23rd, 2012

The desolate stretch of West Texas desert known as the Permian Basin is still the lonely domain of scurrying roadrunners by day and howling coyotes by night. But the roar of scores of new oil rigs and the distinctive acrid fumes of drilling equipment are unmistakable signs that crude is gushing again. And not just here. Across the country, the oil and gas industry is vastly increasing production, reversing two decades of decline. Using new technology and spurred by rising oil prices since the mid-2000s, the industry is extracting millions of barrels more a week, from the deepest waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the prairies of North Dakota.

House to start work on ‘lame duck’ issues next week

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, March 23rd, 2012

While the legislative year is less than half over, some House Republicans already are looking ahead to the post-election “lame duck” session during which Congress will have to quickly decide whether to extend key tax breaks for renewable energy and how to address expiring George W. Bush-era income tax rates. “Some of us have already started thinking about it, and I think you’ll see a proposal next week during the budget debate that accommodates all of the things that would be on our plate in December,” Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio) told reporters today.