Wind energy draws strong bipartisan support, with more than 81 percent of installed wind capacity located in Republican congressional districts, bringing billions of dollars in private investment.
You wouldn’t know it based on Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. Romney has called wind investments “boondoggles” and wind jobs “imaginary.” And the candidate doubled down on his anti-wind policies by announcing his opposition to extending the production tax credit for the industry.
This policy has infuriated some Republican voters and lawmakers from wind-driven states. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) explained his increasing frustration with the campaign at a recent town hall:
“I’m the author of the wind energy tax credit of 1992, and there were people from outside the state came into Iowa and issued a press release that the Republican candidate for president was opposed to wind energy, and I felt it was just like a knife in my back, as the author of the bill, without even being consulted about it,” he said during a town hall meeting at the Greater Burlington Partnership offices in Burlington.”
Grassley takes a much harsher tone now than when Romney’s campaign first announced the policy. Grassley was initially skeptical of Romney’s true position, saying in July, “I have got to get to the bottom of what they are doing, because I think people that didn’t know what they were doing said it, because [Romney] was over in Poland, he obviously wasn’t thinking about wind energy.” But Romney has maintained the position.
Romney’s campaign still hasn’t gotten the message from Grassley, or the dozens of other Republican supporters, wind businesses, and the majority of Americans who support wind investment. It hasn’t helped that Romney has been completely silent on what his policy would do to the 215 wind-related businesses in Iowa, and 75,000 jobs nationally. He offers no alternative to the 37,000 jobs that could be lost if the tax credit isn’t extended past 2012.