Today, Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO) issued this statement following the announcement that Vestas will be laying off employees because of market uncertainty, including as many as 90 workers in Pueblo. Tipton has been a staunch proponent of extending the wind tax credit with a pay for, and in addition to joining his Colorado colleagues in urging Congressional leadership to pass an extension, he recently held a hearing in his House Small Business Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy and Trade to further make the case for wind energy jobs.
"At 12.2%, the city of Pueblo's unemployment rate is higher than the national average, and it's heart-wrenching that 90 more Pueblo residents will have to go home and tell their families that they lost their jobs. What is most frustrating is that this could have, and should have been prevented.
"We have worked diligently in the Colorado Congressional Delegation to extend the wind tax credit, urging leadership in both Chambers to act to save these jobs by providing some certainty for the wind industry. Every single job is precious. Vestas and others in the wind industry have told us that they believe a two year extension of the credit is all that is needed to firmly establish the developing industry, and I will continue to work with Sens. Udall and Bennet, and my Colorado colleagues in the House to provide that extension with a pay-for, and stand up for valuable jobs.
"In addition to pushing for the extension of the wind tax credit, I'm working to advance legislation to streamline the permitting process for the development of renewable energy on public lands. Reducing red tape and shortening the lengthy application process would provide increased certainty for the wind industry and allow projects to move forward, thereby increasing demand and protecting jobs like those at Vestas."
As it stands, the permitting process can take years before renewable projects are able to move forward on public lands. The Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act (H.R. 6154), of which Tipton is an original cosponsor, seeks to restructure the application process to more resemble that which is currently in place for traditional resources, creating a more streamlined process for renewable projects.