Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney campaigned in Craig, Colorado this morning, where he slammed the Obama administration for its energy policies. Romney implied in his speech that there are no clean energy jobs in Colorado, an assertion that is blatantly untrue.
And then of course there’s his plan for energy. You see, he said he was going to create some 5 million green energy jobs. Have you seen those around here anywhere? No, as a matter of fact he’s gone after energy.
There are actually tens of thousands of clean energy jobs in Colorado. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the state had 72,452 jobs in “green goods and services” in 2010. In addition, the American Wind Energy Association also says that Colorado’s wind energy industry alone supported 4,000-5,000 jobs in 2011.
But these wind energy jobs could be at risk. Vestas, the wind turbine manufacturer, which operates four production plants in Colorado, says it will be forced to lay off more than 1,600 workers if the production tax credit for wind is not extended. Up to 37,000 jobs could be at risk nationwide without an extension of this key tax credit.
President Obama was in Iowa last week urging Congress to renew the credit.
Romney has implied that he would like to see the credit expire:
…we should not be in the business of steering investment toward particular politically favored approaches. That is a recipe for both time and money wasted on projects that do not bring us dividends. The failure of windmills and solar plants to become economically viable or make a significant contribution to our energy supply is a prime example.
Meanwhile, Romney supports a Republican budget that would maintain billions of dollars in permanent tax credits for mature fossil fuel companies.
The benefits of Colorado’s renewable energy industry are not lost on residents of the state. A January 2012 poll from the Colorado College State of the Rockies Project found that 64 percent of state residents believed increasing the use of renewable energy will be good for job growth in Colorado.
Romney’s choice of location Craig, Colorado is not a coincidence. In February, the American Energy Alliance, the Institute for Energy Research, and Americans for Prosperity — Koch-funded oil and coal industry groups — ran a video attacking the president’s energy policies called “The Perfect Storm Over Craig, Colorado.”
These and other pro-fossil fuel groups have poured millions into ads attacking clean energy. In April, a ThinkProgress analysis found that Americans for Prosperity, Crossroads GPS, the American Energy Alliance, and the American Petroleum Institute had spent more than $16 million on energy ads against the president’s energy policies. Energy issues made up 81% of campaign ads in April.
Jessica is the Manager of Research and Outreach for the Public Lands Project at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.