I’m not sure how many open letters I’ve read over the years from businesses and state-level political leaders urging Congress to extend short-term tax credits to renewables. It’s a lot. And it’s kind of sad that I’m still reading them.
The latest letter, written by a bi-partisan coalition of governors who support wind energy, lament the negative impact that a looming expiration of the production tax credit is having on businesses throughout the country:
Wind-related manufacturing is beginning to slow in our states because the credit has not yet been extended. If Congress pursues a last minute approach to the extension, the anticipated interruption of the credit’s benefits will result in a significant loss of high-paying jobs in a growing sector of the economy.
The leading wind project developers and manufacturers are slowing their plans for 2013 and beyond due to the current uncertainty. Some developers have no projects scheduled for 2013, and are beginning to lay off employees. The ripple effect of this slow down means reduced orders for turbines and decreased business for the hundreds of manufacturers who have entered the wind industry in our states. If the tax credit is allowed to expire at the end of 2012, there will be negative impacts on the high-tech manufacturing jobs that the industry has brought to or created in our states.
To put it more bluntly: Congress is hurting businesses.
Meanwhile, members of Congress and presidential candidates continue to make outright false claims that environmental regulations are “job killers.” In reality, the inability of Congress to craft consistent tax policy for wind and other renewables is actually killing jobs.
This, quite frankly, is scandalous. But it’s the way things have been for so long, the industry just expects that every couple of years, they’ll go back to Congress and beg for an extension of tax credits.
How many times do lawmakers need to hear that consistency in clean energy tax policy stimulates private-sector investment, creates jobs, and helps bring new revenue to landowners and local communities? And why do we have permanently embedded tax incentives for oil companies, while clean energy companies fight for 1-2 year extensions?
It’s no wonder the approval rating of Congress is at 9 percent — making it less popular than President Nixon during Watergate, as HuffPost points out. The original chart is from Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), who introduced it on the Senate floor in this must-see video: