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Clean Power Romney comes out against wind tax credit extension

Published on August 3rd, 2012 | by Tina Casey


A Mighty Wind Blows through Romney Campaign

August 3rd, 2012 by  

Romney comes out against wind tax credit extension

Last month, presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign staff hinted that he would end the federal wind energy tax credit, and now the cat’s out of the bag: he will. As reported by the Des Moines Register earlier this week, a spokesperson for the campaign in Iowa declared that if elected President, Mr. Romney will “allow the wind credit to expire.”

As far as campaign missteps go, this one is a doozy. The reaction has been swift, merciless, and bipartisan. Campaign strategists could not have kicked up a bigger storm if they sent their candidate all the way to London to dis the city’s preparations for the 2012 Summer Olympics, and…wait, never mind.

Republicans React to Romney Wind Policy

Though Republican leaders have taken care to blame the campaign and not the candidate, they have not been shy about criticizing elimination of the wind tax credit.

U.S. Reprepresentative Tom Latham of Iowa came out with a statement the same evening, duly reported by the Register:

“I’m disappointed that the statement by Governor Romney’s spokesperson shows a lack of full understanding of how important the wind energy tax credit is for Iowa and our nation. It’s the wrong decision. Wind energy represents one of the most innovative and exciting sectors of Iowa’s economy.”

Republican senators from Iowa, Arkansas, and Massachusetts weighed in along similar lines and the Republican governor of Iowa, Terry Branstad, followed up with an interview on Radio Iowa in which he blamed “a bunch of east coast people” for Romney’s position.

Wind Power and Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

With the help of the tax credit, the U.S. wind industry has established a solid track record of creating thousands of jobs in manufacturing, shipping, installation, maintenance, and repair. That’s particularly true of Iowa, which has emerged as a wind industry leader according to the American Wind Energy Association.

The wind industry is also creating new high quality jobs in research and development. That includes the new Wind Energy Manufacturing Laboratory at the University of Iowa, a new wind turbine testing facility at Clemson University in South Carolina, and a new facility at Texas Tech University, all in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy.

In addition, wind power is just one form of alternative energy that is beginning to play a pivotal role in rural economies, beyond the generation of clean energy (biomass and biogas are two other good examples).

In his radio interview, Branstad pointed out that Iowa farmers are making good money collecting rent from wind turbines on their property, which could turn out to be a lifeline for local economies in this year’s historic drought.

A new wind farm in Missouri also illustrates how new tax revenues from wind farms are going toward community-wide economic development projects, and Kansas’s plan for exporting wind energy to other states shows how wind power can bring new revenues to the statewide economies as well.

To sum it all up, in an otherwise lackluster economy the wind industry has been a success story, and anyone who is serious about job creation should be laying plans to keep things humming along the same track. Like they say, if it ain’t broke…

Image: Some rights reserved by Theodore Scott.

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About the Author

specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.

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  • Albastru

     Windmills kill nearly half a million birds a year, according to a
    FishandWildlife estimate. The AmericanBirdConservancy projected that the
    number could more than double in 20 years if the administration
    realizes its goal for wind power. For years, the wind energy industry
    has had a license to kill golden eagles and lots of other migratory
    Over the past two decades, the federal government has
    prosecuted hundreds of cases against oil and gas producers and
    electricity producers for violating some of America’s oldest
    wildlife-protection laws: the MigratoryBirdTreatyActandEagleProtectionAct.
    But the Obama administration has never prosecuted the wind industry
    despite myriad examples of widespread, unpermitted bird kills by
    turbines. Last June, the Los Angeles Times reported that about 70 golden eagles are being killed per year by
    the wind turbines at Altamont Pass, about 20 miles east of Oakland,
    Calif. A 2008 study funded by the AlamedaCountyCommunityDevelopmentAgency
    estimated that about 2,400 raptors, including burrowing owls, American
    kestrels, and red-tailed hawks—as well as about 7,500 other birds,
    nearly all of which are protected under the MigratoryBirdTreatyAct—are being killed every year by the turbines at Altamont.
    So keep on pushing on this “green energy” while species are going
    extinct because people refuse to see the main reason why we are running
    out of fuel: OVERPOPULATION. We shouldn’t focus on how we can rape our
    planet of more resources we should focus on reducing the world
    population and then all the problems will be solved. Check this out: http://www.vhemt.org/.

    • Ross

      American Bird Conservancy calls for “bird-smart” measures rather than a ban on wind farms. They’re the kind of people that would see the big picture and want to minimise the habitat damage caused by global warming. So-called overpopulation isn’t the big problem as it is a minority of the world’s population that consumes the majority of the resources. The rate of increase has been declining for decades. The total will level out and then decline. What we do need is a global shift  to sustainable practices so that the rest of the world population can realistically aspire to the living standards of the developed world.

    • Bob_Wallace

      The critical measurement is bird kills per GWh of power produced.

      Wind turbines kill far fewer birds per GWh than coal.

      We do not have a perfect solution.  We have to go with the best we have.

      One million birds per year is a much smaller number than one would suspect.  

      Glass windows. 100 million up to a billion per year.

      House cats 100 million.

      Automobile/trucks 50 to 100 million.

      Agriculture 67 million.

      Oil and gas extraction 1 to 2 million.

      Hunting 100+ million.


      When it comes to bird kills one million is insignificant.  400x to 1,000x more are killed by other things.

    • Matt

         You are correct so based on your plan we need to
      1) Kill all house cats, they kill many more bird
      2) Take down all buildings over 1 story tall, remove windows from the builds left.
      3) stop use of all coal
      4) Get all you family and friend to leave life. 

      Yes birth control is great, but no one is bring all their family and friend in to die. So how do you plan to reduce the world population by say 75% in the next 5 years

  • Romney has shown himself to be a total suck-up to the oil companies, just like Bush was.

    • Ross

      At least Bush was likeable even if he was dangerous.

  • rkt9

    One thing Mr. Romney is good at, is alienating himself from people.

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