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Steve King (R-IA) on Competing with China: When It Comes to Clean Energy, “Iowa Stands Up Against Any Country”

By Stephen Lacey

"Steve King (R-IA) on Competing with China: When It Comes to Clean Energy, “Iowa Stands Up Against Any Country”"

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Not long after the bankruptcy of Solyndra, Florida Republican Congressman Cliff Stearns said he didn’t believe the U.S. could compete with China in renewables. “Green energy isn’t going to be the solution” to economic growth, he explained.

Stearns, who oddly thinks that subsidies should go to mature companies rather than emerging industries, is one of the Congressional leaders investigating the Solyndra bankruptcy. Like many of his colleagues, he has used the opportunity to pan incentives for clean energy across the board, rather than ask how they can be more effective.

But those incentives to clean energy, which are dwarfed by historic government support of fossil fuels, are providing real, tangible benefits. When asked by Think Progress to comment on Stearns’ assertion that America can’t compete in clean energy, Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King responded by pointing to the 39 wind turbines just outside his property.

Watch it:

“I guarantee you there are more than that if I stop and look. In fact, I represent the number one renewable energy congressional district in all of America. When you add together the BTUs generated from ethanol, biodiesel and wind, nobody comes close out of 435 congressional districts. And I think we’re cutting edge on all three of those. I think we’re leading not just the nation, but the world in all three of those. There are other things China is challenging us on, but when it comes to clean, renewable energy, I’d say the fifth district of Iowa stands up against any country or any other congressional district.”

Indeed, Iowa has the second-most wind capacity installed in the country, with between 17% and 20% of electricity coming from wind throughout the state. As Iowa has scaled up wind installations — helped by the federal production tax credit, an incentive set to expire next year — the industry has supported 3,000 manufacturing and operational jobs. And the wind farms deployed around the state have provided $12.7 million in annual lease payments to Iowa landowners.

The state’s first renewable energy standard was signed into law by Republican Governor Terry Branstand in 1983. Since then, more than 200 companies have set up shop in the state, generating more than $50 million in revenues each year.

Branstand, who was voted back into office in 2010, is set to headline a Politico forum tomorrow in Iowa on the state’s energy future.

Cliff Stearns and some of the Republican presidential candidates may want to listen in before making any more judgements about why “green energy isn’t going to be the solution.”

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4 Responses to Steve King (R-IA) on Competing with China: When It Comes to Clean Energy, “Iowa Stands Up Against Any Country”

  1. mulp says:

    CNN reports King said: “I would have told you in June, yes, I will make an endorsement. But today I will tell you that my head and my heart have not come together behind a single candidate,” King told CNN in a phone interview. “I wish that has happened by now. It hasn’t. I can’t just make a decision based on a date on the calendar. It’s got to be a conviction.”

    Politico reports: “That will be very different in 2012,” Weiss said. “The Republican candidates … have uniformly opposed EPA rules. They are undoubtedly going to use these rules as a cudgel to attack President Obama as being anti-jobs.” — http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1111/68265.html

    Wonder if these two things are connected?

    The 2012 election for environmentalists requires focusing on Congress – no President can vote for and pass any law, and the mythology of presidents forcing Congress to enact his agenda is just totally bogus.

    FDR has bipartisan support for everything that passed quickly, and he failed to stop a few things he opposed, like the Bonus Payments that triggered the budget austerity of 1937-8 and the recession.

    LBJ could not have passed the landmark legislation he’s known for without strong bipartisan support.

    Ridding Congress of any politician who willingly gives up his right to think and vote in the best interests of his constituents and the nation to either his party elite, or worse, special interests, is the only hope for the future. If King is reelected, he must be assured that voting for strengthening the EPA and agreeing to a sustainable energy policy will be politically correct.

  2. Joan Savage says:

    It’s really comforting to find out that there are a lot of wind turbines in western Iowa.
    And, here’s hoping Steve King checks in with the farmers in his district about the future of ethanol and biodiesel in climate change.
    The other post today about Iowa scientists warning about climate change was a solid contribution to public conversation. Their short letter didn’t get to lay out all the vivid details, like how heat shuts down plant growth or unpredictable flooding, stuff that farmers talk about.
    Best wishes for Iowa in planning ahead.

  3. W Scott Lincoln says:

    As a former Iowan I can say that this is one of the few times that Steve King hasn’t been a complete and utter embarrassment to the state.

  4. Spike says:

    Here in the UK our own right wing government is taking steps to ensure the UK remains wedded to old technology, and misses out on the renewable future

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/nov/15/nuclear-renewables-schellnhuber