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Public Statements

Energy Tax Extenders

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Ms. STABENOW. Madam President, I rise today to urge my colleagues to support an amendment that will be coming up tomorrow for a vote--a very important amendment for the economy. It is my amendment No. 1812 that would stop a tax increase on American businesses that are creating clean energy jobs by extending the energy tax cuts. These energy tax credits have been so important to stimulating the diversity of opportunity for us in terms of energy sources, and things are beginning to move. It would be such an error to stop or slow this down at this point.

We have right now over 26 different national organizations that have endorsed this, and more are coming, but let me just mention a few. The National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Wind Energy Association, the Solar Energy Association, the Alliance for Clean Energy, Biotech Industry Association, Renewable Fuels--it goes on and on. A number of folks understand that this means jobs, including the United Steel Workers, as well as the Propane Gas Association, the National Electric Manufacturers, the National Wildlife Association, the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters. The list goes on and on. This has broad bipartisan support, including industry workers and those who care very much from an environmental standpoint about what is happening to our country. All have come together to support this amendment to stop a tax increase on our businesses that are creating jobs through clean energy technologies.

All across the country businesses big and small are creating jobs and bringing manufacturing jobs back to America, building the technology that is powering our future. We all understand that part of the next round in terms of growing a strong economy really is around energy--all sources of energy. I am a let's-do-it-all person, but we have to make sure we have energy choices and opportunities for those businesses to grow.

We have entrepreneurs inventing new technology, building plants, hiring workers, producing cutting-edge new products that save consumers money and, importantly, reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Especially now, when gas prices are going through the roof--and believe me, as I drive around Michigan looking at the gas pumps, it is outrageous what is happening right now--when families are struggling more than ever to fill their tanks, we shouldn't be raising taxes on the innovators and the job creators who are helping to lower American families' energy bills, and that is what the vote tomorrow is about.

My amendment does a number of things. It extends current policy that puts in place this new ability to create jobs, energy, get us off the floor and going. It extends this extremely successful advanced energy manufacturing tax credit that has been called 48C. This is something I was proud to author, working with our chairman of the Energy Committee, Senator Bingaman. We have 43 States where businesses have been able to get a 30-percent tax cut for companies that expand, reequip, and build new plants in the United States to produce clean energy technology.

I want to see ``Made in America'' again, and I know the Presiding Officer does too. This tax cut is what is helping to make that happen.

In Michigan, a number of innovative companies were able to use this tax cut to create jobs, building amazing new products. Here are just a few examples. I was just with the Dow CEO today, someone who is so focused on sustainability and creating energy alternatives. Dow is building solar shingles, among other things, along with new advanced battery technologies.

But the solar shingles are really something to see. They are called the ``Power Shingle.'' You put them on your roof just like regular shingles. You roll it out and install it just like regular shingles, and they generate electricity for your home or business.

These are new technologies that are creating opportunities for suppliers and small businesses all around the Midland, Saginaw, and Bay City area in Michigan.

Ventower Industries builds huge towers for wind turbines. They just opened their plant down in the southeastern part of Michigan, in Monroe, MI. They expect to build as many as 250 wind turbine towers--the big towers--every year.

On the west side of the State, Energetx Composites used to manufacture luxury yachts. They have turned their facility and their big bays that made those yachts--thanks to the 48C manufacturing tax cut--into a facility that is now producing wind turbine blades and other advanced materials.

My amendment also extends the tax cut for companies that produce energy-efficient appliances; grants in lieu of tax credits; tax cuts for companies that install charging stations for our new, great electric vehicles; tax cuts for companies producing the next generation of cellulosic biofuels, and much more.

It also extends the extremely important production tax credit, this tax cut for wind energy, which supports businesses and utilities that produce electricity from wind.

There are more than 8 million households in the United States that rely on wind energy for their electricity. In South Dakota and Iowa more than 20 percent of their electricity is generated by wind. Nationwide more than a half million jobs are related to wind energy production so far. In my State of Michigan alone there are 31 facilities manufacturing components for wind energy and 6 more in the works. I might just add, one of those great big wind turbines has 8,000 parts, and we can manufacture every single one of those in Michigan.

When I look at the opportunities around new clean energy manufacturing, I see jobs in every single part for wind, for solar, for electric vehicles. Any of the areas around clean energy creates thousands of jobs.

It is about the future. Now is not the time to raise taxes on these companies. If we do not extend these tax cuts, that is exactly what is going to happen.

Our economy is slowly coming back, as we know, and manufacturing and clean energy business owners have been leading the way. There are nearly 2.7 million people whose jobs depend on this new part of our economy--the clean energy economy. These are good jobs. This is part of moving our country forward so we can compete successfully in the global economy and keep jobs here.

Right now we are in a race with China and Germany and other countries that want to lead the world in clean energy production. They have made clean energy manufacturing a top priority in their tax policy, in their investment strategy. We know, in fact, in China alone they are spending hundreds of millions of dollars every single day trying to beat us in the clean energy production business.

We should not turn our back on the American businesses that are fighting to compete with countries such as China. We should not turn our back on the millions of people whose jobs depend on the strength of these businesses. We should not turn our back on the opportunity to truly diversify our energy sources so we can get off foreign oil and not have to worry about what that price sign is at the pump.

I strongly urge my colleagues to join together on this amendment, to support it tomorrow, to provide certainty for our businesses and our job creators. This has wide backing from business, from labor organizations, from the environmental and clean energy community. It is a chance to come together and create some certainty for a very important and exciting new part of our economy that is critical for us as we climb out of this recession and create jobs for our American citizens.

Madam President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.


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