Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet on the Senate Floor called for an extension of the wind energy production tax credit, which has helped drive substantial economic growth in Colorado. If the tax credit is not extended soon, new wind energy development projects and the thousands of jobs associated with those projects are expected to drop significantly after 2012.
"This credit has triggered enormous economic growth in Colorado and across the country," said Bennet in his floor speech. "As Congressman Steve King, a Republican from Iowa, wrote today in an op-ed he published, "the production tax credit has driven as much as $20 billion in private investing.' This isn't some Bolshevik trick, some Socialist trick. $20 billion in private investment, in real American manufacturing jobs. It has moved our state toward a more diversified and cleaner energy portfolio, so that Colorado today is a leader among the 50 states in diversifying our portfolio."
Colorado is a wind energy leader, currently generating the third highest percentage of power from wind of any state in the nation. Colorado is home to several major wind energy developers and wind turbine manufacturing facilities, employing upwards of 6,000 workers statewide.
Bennet and Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) filed a bipartisan amendment to the transportation bill to extend this tax credit, which is set to expire at the end of 2012 if Congress does not act. Senator Mark Udall is a cosponsor of the amendment.
Earlier, Bennet led seven other members of Colorado's Congressional delegation in calling on a congressional conference committee to extend the wind energy production tax credit as part of the payroll tax extension.