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Lawmakers push to end all energy subsidies

WICHITA – U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo has joined a Republican push in Washington to end all energy tax credits.

The Republican congressman from Kansas is sponsoring legislation in the House seeking to end all energy tax subsidies, including the production tax credit for electricity produced from renewable resources such as wind, biomass and hydropower.

“My energy legislation gets rid of every single tax credit in the entire federal Internal Revenue code,” Pompeo said in a phone interview Thursday. “It doesn’t favor solar, it doesn’t favor oil and gas, it doesn’t favor wind. It is energy-neutral.”

Pompeo was joined at a Washington news conference Thursday by Republican Sens. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Mike Lee of Utah and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.

The Kansas congressman introduced legislation in May that would also end tax credits for plug-in electric and fuel cell vehicles, alternative fuel mixtures, clean coal investment, oil and gas production from marginal wells and other energy subsidies. Companion legislation was recently introduced in the Senate.

Pompeo said he wants to create a level playing field for energy companies.

“I don’t think the wind production tax credit supported by President Obama as part of his jobs and stimulus program makes sense for Kansas,” Pompeo said.

But that’s not the view shared by some other leaders in Kansas, a state aggressively developing wind energy.

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran recently introduced an amendment to the federal highway bill to extend the wind energy production tax credit for a year. That credit is set to expire at the end of this year.

A recent report from the American Wind Energy Association shows Kansas is leading the nation in the number of wind turbines under construction. The wind industry’s fourth-quarter report shows Kansas has 663 turbines under construction. The state tops the construction list with more than 1,188 megawatts of wind power scheduled to come online this year.

Moran, a Kansas Republican, toured a wind turbine equipment factory in Hutchinson last month to highlight his efforts to extend the production tax credit. The Siemens Energy facility makes nacelles, the part of the wind turbine that houses the gearbox, drive train and electronic controls.

BP America spokesman Tom Mueller said in an email Thursday that his company is hopeful Congress will extend the production tax credit or PTC, so U.S. wind business can continue to develop and grow. The credit has helped grow manufacturing capacity to supply equipment for domestic wind projects.

“Without PTC, the U.S. faces potential loss of these manufacturing jobs and a significant slowdown in development of wind projects here,” Mueller said. “It’s difficult to see much new project development occurring next year without renewal of the PTC fairly soon.”

BP Wind Energy officials in October unveiled plans to build the state’s biggest wind farm, an $800 million farm sprawling across 66,000 acres in Harper, Barber, Kingman and Sumner counties.