Udall: Pass wind tax credits now

U.S. Sen. Mark Udall on Tuesday kicked off a campaign to convince Congress to pass the federal wind production tax credit that provides investment incentives for wind manufacturing in the U.S.

The Colorado Democrat said he would make a speech every morning in the Senate in support of the tax credit, explaining in a statement that “Americans have had it with dysfunction and inaction on Capitol Hill. It is unacceptable for Congress not to pass this common-sense and badly needed piece of legislation. I plan to remind my colleagues of that every morning until the Production Tax Credit passes.”

The tax credit was created in 1992 and has not been allowed to expire since 2005. Though a bill supporting its extension was drawn up by Udall and both Democrat and Republican colleagues earlier this year, Congress has yet to take action on it.

Grand Junction-based Leitner-Poma of America, a company best known for manufacturing ski lift equipment but which also makes and installs wind turbines, expected some impacts to the wind sector of their business if the credit were not renewed, as was reported in The Daily Sentinel Tuesday.

Udall highlighted the broader impacts he foresees in explaining his decision to take up the issue every morning. He said the credit has led to 6,000 jobs in Colorado, mainly at Brighton-based Vestas plants in the state.

“If it were not for the (tax credit) these jobs would be in China, South America or somewhere else. With the (tax credit) lapsing at end of year, we’re seeing capital investment pulled back right now and we’re expecting to see major layoffs in the industry in a matter of weeks” as business try to plan for the credit’s expiration, he said in a conference call following his speech on the Senate floor.

“We can’t wait for a lame-duck session,” he added. “We need to pass it ASAP. If we don’t extend it, we’re effectively exporting jobs, outsourcing jobs that could be here.”

Opponents say wind subsidies have already had enough time to work and that the industry should stand on its own.

Udall said he will highlight the potential impacts on Colorado of letting the subsidy expire this morning and talk about the impacts on a different state every morning until the renewal bill is passed.


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