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Public Statements

Wind Energy Tax Credit

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Mr. President, I come to the floor again to urge my colleagues to extend the production tax credit for wind energy. I would like to note that on the heels of Senator Durbin's comments about China, we wish the Chinese energy industry well, but we do not want to outsource our wind energy jobs to China needlessly. We are on a path to do so.

I see my colleague from Iowa here, Senator Grassley, who I know will speak later on the wind production tax credit, but it is going to expire in less than 1 month from now--December 31, to be specific--if we do not act. That means we are 1 month away from pulling the rug out from under an industry that is currently playing a key role in revitalizing American manufacturing, creating jobs, and powering our Nation. We are literally 1 month away from ending a credit that supports tens of thousands of workers right here in the United States.

Each day that we wait to extend the PTC, we risk losing more good-paying American jobs. We also risk doing away with a credit that is a major contributor to the success and development of our Nation's wind industry. This credit has helped companies leverage billions of dollars' worth of investments and created thousands of made-in-America manufacturing jobs.

If history is any guide, allowing this critical tax credit to expire would be disastrous. The expiration of the PTC in 2000, 2002, and 2004 led to massive drops in wind energy installation. Already in my home State of Colorado this year we have seen hundreds of layoffs across the Front Range due to our heel-dragging on the PTC.

Each time I discuss the PTC on the Senate floor, I highlight a different State to show the vitality of the wind industry in that particular State, how this important credit has created jobs for that State's economy. Today I am here to talk about Iowa, America's heartland and the homeland of the PTC.

In Iowa wind power is no longer an alternative source of energy. In fact, Iowa has become the Nation's No. 2 producer of wind energy, providing close to 20 percent of the State's electric power. Its potential is not even close to being fully tapped. Iowa's wind resources could someday produce up to 44 times the State's current electricity needs.

Let me share some specifics with my colleagues.

Nearly 3,000 turbines spin statewide in Iowa, and Iowa is home to various manufacturing facilities that produce wind turbines and components. The industry employs nearly 7,000 Iowans, half of whom are located at manufacturing facilities all across the State.

Take, for example, Pocahontas County. We can see the map of Iowa here. There are a total of 216 wind turbines that have been constructed in Pocahontas County. When all turbines are at full taxable value, they will contribute an estimated total of almost $190 million to the total county tax base. This means additional revenue for local budgets and additional money for investments in schools and critical community projects.

Iowans know the possibilities and potential a continued investment in wind energy holds for their future. However, I wish to underline again that if we do not act, good-paying jobs will continue to be lost and an industry that is critical to our energy independence will be hit very hard.

This is simply unacceptable. Already Siemens Energy is laying off 615 workers in three States, including Iowa. The company Siemens has acknowledged that difficult market conditions are due to congressional inaction on the PTC.

My colleagues from Iowa, Senators Grassley and Harkin, have been standing with me to fight for the renewal of the production tax credit. Senator Grassley is known as the father of the wind production tax credit. He led the charge some 20 years ago to establish this credit, and I applaud him and Senator Harkin for their work in the renewable energy sector and their dedication to extending this important credit. They know the PTC is a win for Iowa and a win for the United States. That is why it is so important--beyond important--to extend the PTC as soon as possible. The PTC equals jobs, and we ought to pass it as soon as possible.

As my colleagues keep telling me and we hear from the American people, there is no reason to outsource these jobs. There is no reason to outsource energy production, and there is no reason to damage a growing industry that is helping America become energy independent. Congress needs to pass an extension of the production tax credit today. We can't wait any longer.

Let's create jobs and build the clean energy economy of the future. Let's extend the wind production tax credit and let's do it now. It is that simple. The production tax credit equals jobs. Let's pass it ASAP.

Again, I wish to acknowledge my colleague from Iowa, Senator Grassley, who has been a leader in this important policy area for the last 20 years.

Mr. President, I yield the floor, and I note the absence of a quorum.


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