In a letter sent out yesterday to House and Senate leadership, a group of 302 businesses and organizations, including major players in the U.S. economy, urged Congress to act quickly to pass the EXPIRE Act and extend tax policies critical to the continued growth of clean energy technologies.
This legislation, which successfully cleared the Senate Finance Committee in April 2014, includes important provisions for the clean energy industry, including the Production Tax Credit and Investment Tax Credit for wind power.
Signers to the letter included major companies such as Sherwin Williams and the MidAmerican Energy Co., and important voices for growth across the U.S. economy and conservation such as the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Tooling and Machining Association, the American Association of Port Authorities, the Center for Rural Affairs, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, and the National Wildlife Federation.
On a press call yesterday, key leaders in the business community gave individual accounts of why the EXPIRE Act is important to them and their business.
Mark Wagner, Vice President of Government Relations for Johnson Controls, brought up the need to extend the 179D commercial building deduction for improvements in energy efficiency. His company has 170,000 employees and customers in 150 countries, and is a leader in industry and technology.
Robert Walther, the Federal Affairs Director of POET, spoke on behalf of the leading U.S. producer of biofuels. POET is urging Congress to renew the production tax credit for cellulosic biofuels, as well as accelerated depreciation for the same.
The big picture message was the same across the board: these tax extenders are enabling American ingenuity and helping to power economic growth.
The list of signers is notable for their credibility when contrasted with the 117 “groups" on a recent Americans for Prosperity letter, where over half the signatory groups were directly Koch-funded, with many others tiny to nonexistent.
New wind power is a $15 billion a year industry, averaged over the past five years, employing tens of thousands of hardworking Americans while repowering the U.S. manufacturing sector. Thanks in part to smart policies like the PTC, wind power has become increasingly affordable while providing reliable, homegrown energy – enough to power 15.5 million average American homes.
The cost of wind has dropped 43 percent in just four years, a testament to the rapid pace of technological improvement and innovation in this evolving industry. Passage of the EXPIRE Act will encourage continued healthy competition in energy markets enabled by the PTC.
The U.S. Department of Energy has found that with the right policies in place, wind power could grow to support roughly 400,000 American jobs by 2050. By passing the EXPIRE Act, we are building a better energy policy, one that values wind’s proven ability to provide affordable, reliable electricity that diversifies the grid and enhances our security.