Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm issued a forceful plea to House Speaker John Boehner this week: If you’re serious about creating and preserving jobs, support extension of the federal production tax credit (PTC) for wind.
In a wonderfully articulate editorial on her Current TV show, The War Room, Granholm urged Boehner to set aside ideology, extend the PTC, and provide consistency for businesses investing in this economically-valuable sector:
Mr. Speaker, of course you are right: We do need to create more jobs. So guess what — this is your lucky day. There’s one sector of the American economy that is losing jobs as we speak — and you can put a stop to it.
One simple solution is to pass the legislation that helps large-scale wind-energy producers compete against heavily subsidized fossil fuel. The Production Tax Credit has bipartisan support in Congress. It has the full support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The PTC has supported hundreds of large-scale wind projects around the country, helping drop installed costs 90% in the last few decades, attract a broad array of manufacturers, and create 75,000 jobs. In fact, the wind industry supports 7,500 direct and indirect jobs in Boehner’s home state of Ohio, according to the Environmental Law and Policy Center.
Unlike permanent tax credits for oil and gas, the PTC expires every couple of years — setting up a “boom-bust” cycle in the industry and threatening private investment.
Leading companies are already cancelling manufacturing plants and preparing to lay off workers. The wind industry says it could shed as many as 37,000 jobs if the credit expires at the end of this year.
Even with the support of more than 350 companies, a bi-partisan coalition of the nation’s governors, and local conservative politicians around the country, Congress has failed to extend this vital tax credit. Meanwhile, they’ve voted to preserve $24 billion in tax credits for the highly-mature oil and gas industries.
The wind industry has been pushing on this issue intensely. However, in trying to stay as non-partisan as possible, it has failed to hold Congressional leaders accountable. If more influential people like Granholm actually stand up and fight for the PTC, the political equation could still shift. Who’s going to step up next?
Watch Granholm’s entire editorial here:
This article was originally published on Climate Progress and has been republished with permission.
Stephen Lacey is a reporter/blogger for Climate Progress, where he writes on clean energy policy, technologies, and finance. Before joining CP, he was an editor/producer with RenewableEnergyWorld.com. He received his B.A. in journalism from Franklin Pierce University.