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Scott Brown Votes Against Wind Energy Tax Credit Extension He Claimed to Support

 

For Immediate Release: March 19, 2012
Contact: Mathew Helman, Communications Director
E-mail: mathew@progressmass.org, Cell: 617-821-8004

BOSTON - Less than a month ago, numerous media outlets dedicated coverage to Massachusetts' two U.S. Senators, Democrat John Kerry and Republican Scott Brown, in a bipartisan fashion, calling for an extension of wind energy tax credits set to expire at the end of the year.  Expanding renewable energy sources is crucial to reducing America's dependence on fossil fuels, including foreign oil sources, and this wind energy tax credit has been called "central to the health of the industry."

Senators Kerry and Brown co-signed a letter with a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators from all across the country, directed to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, calling for an extension of the wind energy production tax credit.

Despite public statements of support and prominent media attention, last week, our Republican junior Senator, Scott Brown, voted against the wind energy tax credit extension that he claimed to support.

The wind energy tax credit extension was proposed as part of an amendment to S. 1813, a transportation reauthorization bill, which passed.  The wind energy tax credit extension, however, was not part of the successful legislation, as it was voted down in the Senate, and ultimately lacked Brown's support despite his earlier claims of support.

Vote #39, 3/13/12, Stabenow amendment to S. 1813

Brown (R-MA): NAY

Boston Globe, 2/24/12, "Kerry, Brown call for extension of wind energy tax credits," Erin Ailworth

A dozen US Senators, including John Kerry and Scott Brown, are urging government officials to reauthorize a production tax credit for wind energy projects that is set to expire at the end of the year. [...]

The credit was created in 1992 to spur development of wind energy and remains central to the health of the industry. [...]

The problem, wind advocates say, is the credit must be renewed every few years, leaving investors hesitant about financing projects that might not be able to use the credit.

And the few times that it has expired, the sector experienced a significant drop in business before the credit was reinstituted.

BostInno, 2/28/12, "In Rare Show of Bipartisanship, Kerry & Brown Agree It'd Be Stupid to Raise Taxes on Wind Energy," Walter Frick

Bipartisanship is hard to come by in Washington these days. And clean energy has sadly become just another partisan issue over the last two years. So when Senator Scott Brown, a Republican, and Senator John Kerry, a Democrat, are in agreement on clean energy policy you know it's a big deal.

Last week, Kerry and Brown joined ten colleagues in signing a letter to Congressional leadership in support of the extension of a key tax credit for wind energy set to expire at the end of 2012.

Iowa City Press-Citizen, 2/24/12, "Grassley, Harkin sign letter supporting extension of wind energy production tax credit"

Senators Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, have both signed a letter of support for the extension of a wind energy production tax credit.

The letter, written to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, was also signed by John Kerry, D-Mass., Jerry Moran, R-Kan., Mark Udall, D-Colo., Michael Bennet, D-Colo., John Boozman, R-Ark., Tim Johnson, D-S.D., John Hoeven, R-N.D., Scott Brown, R-Mass., John Thun, R-S.D., and Jon Tester, D-Mont.

Read the letter
Dear Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader McConnell:

Due to our country's diverse energy needs, we write to urge you to address expiring tax provisions supporting wind energy production. The future of the American wind industry requires a stable tax environment in which to operate. If we are to expect wind energy to contribute to our country's future energy needs, Congress must quickly work to reauthorize the wind production tax credit before our wind production capabilities are damaged. We ask that you move quickly to extend the production tax credit.

The growth in installations is supported by the rise of the domestic manufacturing of the wind facilities' critical components. According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), turbines, towers, and assembled nacelles are produced in over 400 manufacturing facilities that employ tens of thousands of skilled American workers. Failure to extend the production tax credit will weaken this growing manufacturing sector and destabilize an industry just before it completes its transformation to being cost competitive in the marketplace.

By extending this production tax credit, we must also be mindful of our country's current fiscal situation. An extension of the wind production tax credit should provide for some long term stability while setting forth a path for how the wind industry can move towards a market-based system. While it is clear that the wind industry currently requires tax incentives like the production tax credit to compete, Congress needs to provide the wind industry with the stability and predictability to plan for the future.

We are committed to working towards an energy policy that encompasses all forms of domestic capabilities. As our country seeks healthy industries and increasing job opportunities to aid in our economic growth, we urge you to pursue an extension of the wind production tax credit as soon as possible.

 

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