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Dear GOP: Don’t Rescue Obama Energy Policy with PTC Extension (lame duck peril)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- November 7, 2014

“Rejecting efforts to extend the PTC is a meaningful way for this Congress to oppose the President’s climate plan. A vote for extending the PTC is a vote for the President and the Majority Leader’s agenda.”

It seems almost counterintuitive to tell Republicans not to hand Obama and the environmental Left a big victory before taking power in both houses of Congress in the new year. But intense lobbying by the American Wind Energy Association over many years has created inertia. Government goes to those who show up, and AWEA has shown up and poisoned the Republican well.

Is it business as usual for the Republican political brand? Or a new beginning, given the election mandate of November 4th? The lame duck tax extenders issue (wind power’s Production Tax Credit expired on December 31, 2013) will tell us much.

Yesterday’s coalition letter to GOP leadership by the American Energy Alliance, the advocacy arm of the Institute for Energy Research, signed by 66 organizations, follows:


November 6, 2014

The Honorable John Boehner, Speaker of the House, U.S. House of Representatives; The Honorable Mitch McConnell, Minority Leader, U.S. Senate

Dear Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader McConnell:

During the lame duck session, one of the top priorities for President Obama and Majority Leader Reid is the passage of a tax extenders package that includes a retroactive extension of the decades old wind production tax credit (PTC). The PTC is a key part of President Obama and Majority Leader Reid’s attack on affordable energy from natural gas, coal, and nuclear. We urge you to reject any attempt to revive the PTC.

First, it makes no sense for the Republicans to give away any leverage they may have with respect to tax reform in the 114th Congress. Calls to “clear the decks” for the new Congress are nonsensical; why would the newly elected Senate and House members (from either party) want to reward Senator Harry Reid for his legacy of dysfunction by allowing him the opportunity to advance his pet priority—the wind PTC—during a lame duck session?

Second, extending the PTC restricts Americans’ access to affordable and reliable energy. The PTC harms Americans in two important ways: it hides the true cost of wind power and encourages states to keep expensive wind power mandates. This makes it easier for the President to promote his restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants because the PTC hides the true costs from ratepayers.

Third, the PTC enables wind operators to use the tax code to engage in predatory pricing against reliable and affordable nuclear, coal, and natural gas power plants. The PTC is such a large subsidy that industrial wind facilities can actually pay the electrical grid to take their electricity and still make money. This predatory pricing is designed to drive nuclear, coal, and natural gas generators out of business and it is only profitable because of the PTC.

If you favor substantive, meaningful tax reform, you should oppose the inclusion of the wind PTC in any lame duck tax extenders package. Rejecting efforts to extend the PTC is a meaningful way for this Congress to oppose the President’s climate plan. A vote for extending the PTC is a vote for the President and the Majority Leader’s agenda.


American Energy Alliance; American Commitment; Heritage Action For America; Americans for Tax Reform; Competitive Enterprise Institute; Americans for Competitive Enterprise; Americans for Prosperity; National Center for Public Policy Research; Taxpayers Protection Alliance; Frontiers of Freedom; National Black Chamber of Commerce; Energy and Environment Legal Institute; Independent Women’s Voice; The Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT); Less Government; Club for Growth; Tea Party Nation; 60 Plus Association; Independence Institute; Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST); Campaign to Free America; Caesar Rodney Institute; National Tax Limitation Committee; Mansfield Tea Party; United for Missouri; Whitley County Concerned Citizens; The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation; Secure America’s Future Economy; North American Platform Against Wind Power; Great Lakes Wind Truth; U.S. and Canada Toronto Wind Action; Ontario Wind Action; Greencastle Defenders of Liberty; The Brighton Ridge Protectors; Save Our Senecas; The Coalition for the Preservation of the Golden Crescent and 1000 Islands Region Wells County Concerned Citizens; Concerned Taxpayers of Wells County; Rio Grande Foundation; Concerned Citizens of Dekalb County (IN); Coalition for Sensible Siting, Goodhue MN; Goodhue Wind Truth, Goodhue, MN; Coalition for Sensible Siting, Sibley, MN; Energy Makes America Great, Inc.; WNY Environmental Federation; The Great Lakes Beach Sweep; Cohocton Wind Watch; Interstate Informed Citizens Coalition; Stop Hallam Wind; Tom Stacy, Ohioan for Affordable Electricity; Let Freedom Ring; Concerned Citizens of Cattaraugus County; Brown County Citizens for Responsible Wind Energy; Save Our Skyline Ohio; Northern Indiana Citizens Coalition; Greenwhich Neighbors United; The Wells County Constitutional Patriots; Grant County Concerned Citizens; Whitley County Patriots; Northwestern PA Eagle Conservation Association; Save Lake Ontario’s Skylines; Clear Skies Over Orangeville; Sibley County Concerned Citizens; Citizen Power Alliance; Save Our Skyline VWC; United Citizens of Livingston County

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