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Governors' Wind Energy Coalition

December 4, 2014

House passes extension of tax breaks through year’s end; Senate likely to go along 

Nick Juliano, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted 2014-12-04 06:53:28

The House yesterday voted to retroactively renew dozens of lapsed tax breaks through the end of this year, a scenario that renewable energy boosters are resisting because they say it would provide too little time for the production tax credit (PTC) to spur any substantial new activity. Lawmakers from both parties lamented that they were left considering such a meager measure but said the worse move would be failing to do anything to renew the credits before the end of the year. Efforts to craft a more expansive bill fell apart last week following objections from the White House, and Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) effectively dropped his push for an alternative bill last night. The House bill, H.R. 5771, passed 378-46, with 26 Republicans and 20 Democrats dissenting. It is expected to clear the Senate next week. [ read more … ]

Wyden: No path forward on tax breaks

By Bernie Becker, The Hill  •    •  Posted 2014-12-04 06:54:11

Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) has all but acknowledged that the House’s one-year extension of expired tax breaks would become law, a spokeswoman said Wednesday. Wyden and other Democrats on his panel had been seeking a two-year extension of dozens of tax breaks that expired at the end of 2013. But less than two hours after the House overwhelmingly approved its plan, Lindsey Held, a spokeswoman for Wyden, said “we are disappointed that at this point there doesn’t appear to be a procedural path forward.” [ read more … ]

Renewable energy credit extension lacks ‘credibility’ — Hatch 

Nick Juliano, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted 2014-12-04 06:53:47

The Senate’s top Republican tax-writer today dismissed efforts to phase out a key renewable energy incentive over several years, saying it lacks “credibility” and indicating that a brief renewal included in a larger stopgap tax bill expected to pass by next week would likely mark an end to the credit. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who will chair the Finance Committee next year, said he expected passage of a bill to renew the production tax credit (PTC) along with dozens of expired tax breaks through the end of the year, although he planned to meet today with current Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who has been pushing for a longer extension. [ read more … ]

Congressional budget scorers reduce estimated cost of PTC 

Nick Juliano, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted 2014-12-04 06:54:38

Nonpartisan congressional budget scorers today revised downward their estimate of what it would cost the government to extend a key renewable energy incentive through the end of this year. The Joint Committee on Taxation released a revised cost estimate for H.R. 5771, a bill expected to pass the House this evening that would renew more than 50 expired tax breaks through the end of this year. JCT said it discovered a “computational error” in its cost estimate for the Production Tax Credit (PTC), which supports wind and select other forms of renewable energy. [ read more … ]

Obama to emphasize green grid, infrastructure in budget, SOTU — Podesta 

Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted 2014-12-04 06:55:02

President Obama believes he can work with incoming Republican congressional majorities on reforming the tax code, upgrading crumbling infrastructure and greening the power grid, White House senior counselor John Podesta told a smart grid industry gathering today. Those issues will be reflected in Obama’s State of the Union address and in the fiscal 2015 budget request “that we’re finalizing as we speak,” he said. [ read more … ]

George Shultz Gone Solar. Now That’s a Sign of Thawing in the U.S. Climate Debate

By Alex Nussbaum, Mark Chediak and Zain Shauk, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2014-12-04 06:55:26

As Ronald Reagan’s secretary of state, George Shultz faced off against Muammar Qaddafi, the Soviet Union and Chinese communists. His latest cause, though, is one few fellow Republicans support: fighting climate change. Two years ago, Shultz was alarmed when a retired Navy admiral showed him a video of vanishing Arctic sea ice and explained the implications for global stability. Now, the former Cold Warrior drives an electric car, sports solar panels on his California roof and argues for government action against global warming at clean-energy conferences. [ read more … ]

Holder overhauls environmental justice strategy 

Robin Bravender, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted 2014-12-04 06:56:05

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder today announced that his department is updating its policies to ensure that environmental burdens don’t disproportionately harm minority and low-income communities. Speaking today at a tribal nations conference hosted by the White House, Holder announced that the Justice Department is releasing a revised environmental justice strategy and guidance “outlining how we will work to use existing environmental and civil-rights laws to help ensure that all communities, regardless of their income or demographics, are protected from environmental harm.” [ read more … ]

Note: News clips provided do not necessarily reflect the views of coalition or its member governors.