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Taxpayer abuse

Published: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 12:44 p.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 12:48 p.m. CST

As of this year, U.S. Congress has yet to extend Wind Productive Tax Credits (PTC). It is the first time in 20 years the PTC didn’t get a January extension. This time there is heavy opposition from 120 conservative groups led by American Prosperity and Senate and House members.

Some of the reasons for opposition are: PTC is expected to cost taxpayers $7.7 billion between 2014 and 2017. Thirty states, plus Washington, D.C., receive no wind subsidies but pay their share of this tax burden. Wind is no longer a developing energy. There is so little to show for 20 years of generous taxpayers’ handouts. Wind is only 4 percent of the nation’s energy. PTC enables negative pricing where some producers pay consumers to use their electricity. PTC supports an unreliable energy source which puts a strain on the electric grid. This strain adds cost to rate-payers’ utilities bill. Some wind producers earn more from PTC than from the energy produced by their wind turbines.

Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander is quoted in “Alexander: End Wind Subsidies, Double Energy Research, Create Jobs,” Chattanoogan.com, “not renewing the wind PTC would help produce new jobs because subsidizing wind drives up cost, undercuts reliable electricity and chases away jobs.”

Wind subsidies’ abuse to the taxpayer is not over. Montana Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, chairman of Senate Finance Committee, would like to continue PTC. The wind industry Washington lobby, American Wind Energy Association, remains a rich, powerful political influence.

If PTC would end, the transmission of wind from the Great Plains to the East Coast would not be robust. Thus the construction of long distance, high voltage transmission lines as: RICL, Duke ATC., Wind on the Rails, GBE, Prairie Gateway would also be less robust.

U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger has written he is against extending PTC. Sen. Durbin, wrote around the issue. Senator Kirk is silent.

Now is the time to act to stop this taxpayer abuse.

Mary Auchstetter

Peru

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