“Senator Lamar Alexander (the senior U.S. Senator from Tennessee and chairman of the Senate Republican Conference) notes in his recent speech before the Senate that the production tax credit (PTC) sought by the heavily funded American Wind Energy Association lobby was initially intended to be a temporary tax break when it began in 1992.” (“Industrial wind and the PTC – Permanent Tin Cup,” Feb. 21, www.alleghenytreasures.com)
So why has the PTC apparently become AWEA’s “Permanent Tin Cup”? In his speech, Sen. Alexander posed the question: “And what do we get in return for these billions of dollars of subsidies? We get a puny amount of unreliable electricity that arrives disproportionately at night when we don’t need it.”
“(F)ederal subsidies for Big Wind – $27 billion over 10 years. That is the amount of federal taxpayer dollars … that taxpayers will have given to wind developers across our country. … These are huge subsidies. The production tax credit itself has been there for 20 years.”
That tax credit was supposed to be temporary in 1992.
“Residents in community after community across America are finding out that these are not your grandma’s windmills. … In town after town, Americans are complaining about the noise and disturbance that come from these giant wind turbines in their backyards.”
“Let’s focus on reducing the debt, increasing expenditure for research, and getting rid of the subsidies. Twenty years is long enough for a wind production tax credit …”
Since Republican Sen. Alexander and his fellow watchdogs on wasteful spending were successful in blocking the PTC from being included on the payroll tax extension bill, Congress has effectively dealt a major blow to the heavily-subsidized wind power industry.
In reporting on the Feb. 16, 2012, success of the Republicans, Chicago Tribune staff reporter Julie Wernau wrote that the wind power industry is predicting “projects will be abandoned or significantly delayed without federal subsidies.”
“Wind proponents tried to tuck the tax credit extension … in legislation aimed at extending payroll tax cuts. But congressional leaders did not include it in that bill.” The vote in the Senate was 60-36 and in the House, 293-132.
For the folks who complain about the politicians spending this country into oblivion, look no further than our own Orangeville. So the question needs to be asked: Why is it that the leadership of the Wyoming County Republican Committee, the Town of Orangeville Republican Committee, the majority of the Town of Orangeville officials and/or their families, and so many other Republicans in name only (RINOs), contract with or otherwise support industrial wind installations? Why would any true, fiscally-conservative Republican violate the principles of the Republican National Committee, which has always championed defeating “cap-and-trade” legislation – a key player of which is the industrial wind debacle?
Is the answer, contrary to the principles as set forth by the Office of the State Comptroller, for “big money”? Those principles include: “Public servants are expected to act in the public interest … public servants are expected not to profit from their office.”
Perhaps Big Corporate’s Big Bucks have become too tempting to resist – turning many from “public service” to “self-service.” So tempting that, even though they knew in advance that such party disloyalty arrogance would destroy the peaceful harmony of Orangeville and divide our friends and neighbors, they went ahead and did it anyway. At the expense of the public interest, the answer always is: “Follow the money.”
Ted Wilkinson lives in Orangeville.