Mitt Romney Will End Tax Credit for Clean Wind Energy

New pledge draws contrast with Obama's clean energy policy.

The GOP candidate doesn't think wind energy should get a tax break. (Photo: JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Aug 2, 2012
writes about environment and energy for the NYT, Popular Science, OnEarth Magazine, and more.

Earlier this summer, in one of the first sneak peeks at environment and energy policy under an Obama vs. Romney administration, a surrogate for the Romney campaign said the former governor would favor phasing out the Production Tax Credit, or PTC, for wind energy, which has been widely credited for getting the green industry off the ground.

This week, a spokesman for the Romney campaign made it clear that Romney would not just phase out the program, but rather make sure that the PTC expired at the end of the year.

"He will allow the wind credit to expire, end the stimulus boondoggles and create a level playing field on which all sources of energy can compete on their merits. Wind energy will thrive wherever it is economically competitive, and wherever private-sector competitors with far more experience than the president believe the investment will produce results," said Shawn McCoy, a spokesman for Romney's Iowa campaign in a statement to the Des Moines Register on Monday.

RELATED: Who's Greener: Obama or Romney?

In contrast, President Obama has been pushing lawmakers for a long-term extension of the program, without which the wind energy industry estimates 37,000 jobs may be lost.

The PTC pays wind power producers 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour. The periodic lapsing of the credit, most recently in 2004, has caused considerable uncertainty in the industry.

Sierra Club Executive Director, Michael Brune, released a strongly worded statement in response to the announcement of Romney's stance.

"We'd all heard Romney had a history of shipping American jobs overseas, but this is just proof that he's for eliminating them altogether. Even with tens of thousands of American jobs on the line in the very states he needs to win in November, Romney is more interested in padding the profits of his big polluter campaign donors than helping American workers stay in their jobs," said Mr. Brune.

This week also saw a new wave of TV, radio and online ads funded by the Sierra Club, calling on three GOP Congressmen—Reps. Bob Latta (OH), Bill Shuster (PA), and Blake Farenthold (TX)—to take action to get the PTC extension through Congress. 

"We'd expect these Representatives to act with hundreds of wind industry jobs in their districts on the line—but these three have done nothing to support their constituents and renew the Production Tax Credit," said Mr. Brune.

Ads released earlier this summer by the Sierra Club called on GOP Reps. Lou Barletta (PA) Frank Guinta (NH,) and Joe Heck (NE) to take action to renew the PTC and save green energy jobs in their districts.

Do you think the presidential candidates should embrace wind power? Let us know in the comments below.

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