Congressman John Kline is asking colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives to support his proposal to allow Section 1603 renewable energy grants to expire, as scheduled, at the end of this month. The grants, which include tax credits for wind energy, were included in the President's stimulus in 2009.
"These grants use taxpayer funds to encourage the building of wind turbines despite opposition from communities and a lack of integration into a long-term energy strategy," said Kline, who serves the 2nd congressional district including all of Goodhue County. "In Goodhue County, a wind developer is working to establish a farm with more than 50 wind turbines despite strong concerns voiced by residents the program is slated to serve. Hundreds of constituents could not be clearer -- they do not want this project in their back yards and they do not want their tax dollars funding it."
Section 1603 grants in lieu of tax credits were created as part of the failed stimulus bill and extended as recently as last year through Dec. 31, 2011. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, "[m]arket response, since Section 1603 was established, has been mixed. The solar industry expects a record year of installations in 2010 (approximately one Gigawatt), while the wind industry forecasts a 50 percent decline compared to 2009 (approximately five Gigawatts installed in 2010 compared to 10 Gigawatts installed in 2009)."
In June, Congressman Kline sent a letter asking House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp to let Section 1603 grants expire in accordance with efforts to develop a comprehensive energy strategy. In October, Kline met in Cannon Falls with more than 20 constituents to hear their concerns with the proposed wind project. Last week, Kline asked congressional colleagues to support his proposal allowing Section 1603 to expire.
"The President's failed $1 trillion stimulus created debt, not jobs," said Kline. "Given the economic challenges facing our country, we cannot in good conscience use taxpayers' hard-earned dollars to subsidize industries that have failed to demonstrate results."
In his fifth term, Congressman John Kline is the Chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee. He also serves on the House Armed Services Committee.