In its lame-duck session, Congress needs to renew a tax credit that’s crucial to increasing the production of clean, renewable wind energy in gusty states such as Kansas.
Opinion polls consistently show Americans support the construction of more wind farms. That benefits consumers by stoking competition between wind and fossil fuels. It also helps reduce pollution when less coal is burned to power the electricity grid.
So why has the legislation been stymied in Washington for more than a year?
The entrenched fossil fuel industry has funneled millions of dollars into the campaigns of congressional representatives, instructing them to oppose the federal production tax credit for wind. Essentially, this tax break has made it economically feasible to more quickly boost wind power in the nation.
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With their self-interests at heart, fossil fuel supporters are telling Congress that it shouldn’t pick “winners and losers” in energy markets. This is an absurd argument, given the ever-continuing flow of subsidies and tax favors to old-line oil and gas producers.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is one of the few sensible Republicans who has long fought to promote wind energy, pointing to the thousands of jobs it has created in the state.
His GOP colleagues in Congress ought to follow Brownback’s lead and extend the tax credit for wind.