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Labor and Business Leaders Thank Cantwell for Helping Bring Family Wage Jobs to Southwest Washington

Location: Vancouver, WA

Labor and Business Leaders Thank Cantwell for Helping Bring Family Wage Jobs to Southwest Washington

On Putting Us First Tour, Cantwell Highlights Job Growth from Northwest's Clean Energy Technology

VANCOUVER, WA - Monday in Vancouver, at a meeting with local port workers and industry leaders, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell pledged to continue working to bring quality jobs to Washington while spurring investment in new sources of clean, renewable energy for the country. The event marked the arrival of a shipment of wind turbines to the Port of Vancouver, which will be delivered to the Wild Horse Wind Farm near Kittitas, Washington.

"To expand opportunity for all Washingtonians, we have to invest in local economic growth and quality jobs here at home," Cantwell said. "Southwest Washington is leading the way in jumpstarting our innovation economy and developing homegrown, 21st-century solutions to our energy needs. I'd rather bet on our ingenuity than gamble on the future goodwill of other countries."

Cantwell was joined by Larry Paulsen, Executive Director of the Port of Vancouver, and Brad Clark, President of the Vancouver IL WU Local, who thanked Cantwell for helping create local jobs, including approximately 28,000 additional hours of labor for workers at the Port of Vancouver. Dana Peck, Vice President of Horizon Wind Energy and Debbie Strand, Director of the Phoenix Group, talked about the use of wind power to spur other economic development opportunities and thanked Cantwell for her support.

"We absolutely appreciate all of the work Senator Cantwell has done to help make these wind energy projects happen," said President of the Vancouver IL WU Local Brad Clark. "All of the workers here today know they have their jobs because of projects like the one Senator Cantwell helped make possible. All of this work goes back into our economy. And, not only does this create jobs, but this is about making us more energy independent, too, so we can rely less on foreign oil. Senator Cantwell was there for us yesterday, she is here for us today and we'll be there for her in November."

Puget Sound Energy owns the 229-megawatt Wild Horse Wind project, outside of Kittitas. When completed later this year, the Wild Horse Project will produce power from 127 turbines. According to an estimate from the Phoenix Economic Development Group in Ellensburg, the project will generate more than $1 million in tax revenue during the first year of operation. Additional tax revenue includes $413,000 for the Kittitas School District, $193,000 for county roads, and $162,000 for the County general fund.

Wind power offers great potential as a resource for clean, renewable energy. Washington state has about 390 megawatts of current wind energy generating capacity in addition to the 229 megawatts to be added at the Wild Horse project.

In 2005, Congress extended the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for an additional two years, which provides a 1.9 cent-per-kilowatt-hour tax credit for electricity generated by wind turbines. The amount of the production tax credit is adjusted annually for inflation. Cantwell worked to make sure that this provision was included in the 2005 energy bill, and she is working to extend it to January 1, 2015. The PTC is estimated to save Washington energy ratepayers $260 million over 10 years.

Cantwell's visit to Vancouver is part of her statewide "Putting Us First" tour. Cantwell has made 26 stops through 13 cities and towns in nine days, talking with Washingtonians about the issues that matter to them. Cantwell's "Putting Us First" tour is highlighting her accomplishments and showing her future plans to promote and protect our Northwest values.

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