Koch Zero: Environmental Groups on Offensive After Big Oil's Defeat of Wind Production Tax Credit


The Sierra Club has announced that they are launching an ad campaign in hopes of garnering public support for an extension of the Wind Production Tax Credit. The successful credit program expired after it fell into the crosshairs of the Koch brothers, who vowed to make the tax credit “so toxic that it makes it impossible for John Boehner to sit at a table with Harry Reid and say, ‘Yeah, I can bend on this one.”  Attempts to extend the program have stalled in the Senate and now the Sierra Club is targeting 20 politicians from states with growing wind energy industries that have yet to take a position on the credit.  

The success of the Wind Production Tax Credit helped the cost of wind energy drop 43 percent between 2008 and 2012.  According to the Sierra Club, the American wind energy industry was averaging more than $15 billion annually in new investment until the tax credit expired.  Since 2012, both new investment and industry growth have stalled.  According to Dave Hamilton, Director of Clean Energy for Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign:

“The Wind Production Tax credit is arguably one of the best bets we’ve made on clean, domestic energy.  It encourages huge investments, creates good American jobs, helps our country become more energy independent, and cuts air and water pollution. But many in Congress are failing to act, leaving thousands of American workers and communities across the country blowing in the wind.”

The industry currently employs over 80,000 Americans and produces enough energy to power 15 million homes. The process saves nearly 30 billion gallons of fresh water annually compared to other energy sources. The American Wind Energy Association predicts that if growth holds steady the industry will provide 20 percent of America’s energy by 2030.   With its potential to create well paying jobs combined with its environmental benefits wind energy has grown increasingly popular in the plains and prairies. Mary Anne Hitt, Director of Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, touched on this saying:

“For wind in America’s heartland, the sky’s the limit. Wind energy has created tens of thousands of good-paying, family-sustaining jobs, and has the potential to create tens of thousands more — all while generating enough clean energy to more than meet our nation’s electricity needs.”

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Chaz Bolte
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