Wind-credit foe the latest in string of GOP retirements

Source: By Timothy Cama, E&E News reporter • Posted: Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-Texas) said today he won’t run for reelection next year, becoming the seventh House Republican in the last two weeks to announce his retirement.

Marchant, a senior member of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee and a vocal critic of the wind power production tax credit, has represented a suburban area between Dallas and Fort Worth since 2005.

“For the last 40 years, I have served my fellow North Texans, starting in local government as the mayor and as a city council member of Carrollton, then to Austin as a 9-term state representative, and then on to serving today in Washington, D.C. What a wonderful opportunity it has been to serve them, and I want to thank them for trusting in me,” Marchant said in a statement today.

The congressman has led efforts to repeal the PTC, which provides incentives for the amount of electricity that owners of wind turbines produce.

“Growth in wind energy is not driven by market demand, but instead by a combination of state mandates and a federal tax credit that is now more valuable than the actual market price of the electricity these plants generate,” he and dozens of other House Republicans wrote in 2015 in support of completely ending the incentive.

“These very same market distortions that are driving wind energy expansion have also led to higher electricity costs for American families,” the lawmakers said. Congress voted that year to phase out the PTC.

Marchant’s announcement comes after a long string of retirements from House Republicans. In just the last two weeks, Reps. Will Hurd, Pete Olson and Mike Conaway of Texas; Martha Roby of Alabama; Paul Mitchell of Michigan; and Susan Brooks of Indiana said they’d leave, while Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah confirmed his previous decision to retire after publicly toying with staying.

Bishop is the ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee, Conaway is ranking member of the Agriculture Committee, and Olson was a leading advocate for delaying EPA’s 2015 ozone rule and slowing down potentially additional ozone regulations.

Many of the lawmakers leaving the House recently had close reelections after previously enjoying wide winning margins in districts that are becoming increasingly Democratic. Marchant won his 2018 contest by 3 percentage points, compared with double-digit leads in previous contests.

A handful of other lawmakers this year have announced their intent not to run for reelection, either to retire or seek another office: Reps. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.), Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.), Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and José Serrano (D-N.Y.), and Sens. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.).

Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) died in office in February, while Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) resigned in January over health concerns; Jones’ seat will have a special election in September, and Marino’s had one in May, which Republican Rep. Fred Keller won.