Pruitt Calls For End To Tax Credits For Wind & Solar

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Scott Pruitt, who plays the role of Darth Vader in Trump’s Evil Empire, told an audience at the Kentucky Farm Bureau on Monday that he is in favor of ending all tax credits for wind and solar power as soon as possible. His statement makes his unwavering allegiance to gospel according to Charles and David Koch apparent for all to see.

Scott Pruitt“I would do away with these incentives that we give to wind and solar,” he told the assembled multitude. “I’d let them stand on their own and compete against coal and natural gas and other sources, and let utilities make real-time market decisions on those types of things as opposed to being propped up by tax incentives and other types of credits that occur, both in the federal level and state level.”

Fortunately, Pruitt is not in control of federal tax policy, but his words could carry weight with those serving in that august deliberative body. But The Trumpeter, having lost his war on the Affordable Care Act, is now threatening to blow up the US tax code to confer trillions in benefits upon America’s richest and least deserving citizens. Tax credits for wind and solar could well become part of that discussion.

At present, wind power producers benefit from a tax credit of 2.3 cents per kilowatt-hour, but the credit begins phasing out at the end of this year and disappears completely in 2020. The solar credit expires completely in 2022. Until then, companies that build solar power systems enjoy a federal tax credit equal to 30% of their investment.

Pruitt’s war on renewables parrots the party line from the corporate hogs that feed at the trough of money flowing from the Koch Brothers. The mantra that we hear repeated over and over and over again is “Government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers.”

In other words, the unseen hand of the free market should be the sole and final arbiter of commercial success. Government has no business giving special treatment to one business and not another. Of course, that would mean no price supports for farmers, no career diplomats flying around the world seeking orders from foreign powers for American weapons manufacturers, and no government support for highway and railroad maintenance.

Want to get government out of commerce, Scott? Fine. Do it, but do it honestly. Show you are not just a well paid stooge spouting the pious mouthings you have been spoon fed by your masters. Cancel any and all government programs that assist the business sector. That includes all trade pacts and tariffs to protect American business from foreign predators.

But of course that’s not what Pruitt has in mind at all. His objective is helping out the fossil fuel robber barons who are only too glad to subject Americans to higher health risks, shorter life spans, polluted rivers, and exploding tap water so they can shovel more profits into their already overstuffed pockets. It is impossible to imagine a more two-faced charlatan than Scott Pruitt.

Fossil fuel subsidies
Credit: International Monetary Fund

And of course the thing that Pruitt and others who carry water for the fossil fuel industry fail to mention is that the United States provides more than $600 billion in subsidies to the industry every year, according to the International Monetary Fund. If you want to include the cost of maintaining the largest military in the history of the world to protect America’s access to foreign oil, double that number and more.

Pruitt’s comments may be a portend of other things to come. Recently, the International Trade Commission ruled that Suniva and SolarWorld had been unfairly damaged by cheap solar cells from China. That ruling opens the door wide for the Trump maladministration to slap high tariffs on imported solar cells, a move that could deal a crippling blow to solar power in the US.

Imposing high tariffs, eliminating tax credits. Add them together and you have the makings of a perfect storm for solar power in America. If Pruitt and others succeed, wind and solar power could become a thing of the past in America. If so, America won’t become great again. It will fall further and further behind as the rest of the world sprints toward a zero emissions future, leaving America to choke on its own emissions.

Source: The Hill

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."

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