Congress stalling wind-power growth, Leitner-Poma officials tell Bennet
Congress’ inability to deal with production tax credits for wind energy is holding back projects and possibly stifling job growth, officials of a Grand Junction company told U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., on Monday.
Leitner-Poma of America Inc., familiar to skiers as the maker of lifts around the world, also does some domestic work in the wind-energy industry.
“It’s a little tough” to expand the company’s presence in the industry, “especially with the wind tax credit being in limbo,” Leitner-Poma President Rick Spear said.
Spear on Monday led Bennet on a tour around the Leitner-Poma plant, 2746 Seeber Drive, showing him how the plant manufactures its products, among them one of the world’s fastest gondolas, and the other a giant, high-tech Ferris wheel for Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.
Wind-energy projects make up perhaps 5 percent of the business done from the company’s Grand Junction manufacturing center, Spear said.
Such projects, however, make up about 15 percent of business worldwide for the parent company, Pomagalski S.A., headquartered in France, Spear said.
The wind-energy tax credit, as well as the Export-Import Bank, however, now seem to be hostage to partisan hostility on Capitol Hill, Bennet later told The Daily Sentinel editorial board.
The Export-Import Bank is an unlikely flashpoint for partisan bickering, Bennet said, because “it has done nothing but make money.”
One exception to the paralysis has been the passage of a “crowdfunding” measure that would allow individuals to invest on an Internet platform, Bennet said.
The measure, which passed the House without consumer protections, won support in the Senate when those protections were included and is now set to be signed by President Barack Obama, Bennet said.
Bennet also said a proposal for a regional office of the U.S. Patent Office in Denver could aid the larger Colorado economy.
In Afghanistan, Bennet said it’s time to withdraw American forces “as fast as we reasonably can.”
An American footprint, however, will remain in the nation as a base for drone warfare that has been successful in killing leaders of al-Qaida, though not so effective against the Taliban, he said.