The big wind turbine at the Vestas plant south of Pueblo just kept spinning in the breeze Saturday – an unintentionally apt symbol of the stalemate in Congress over extending a federal tax credit for the wind power industry.
Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., has been making at least a speech a week – his 12th was Thursday – on the need for Democrats and Republicans to come together and approve the tax credit for at least another year. Udall and other wind power supporters argue that about 75,000 jobs nationally are at risk if Congress fails to renew the wind power credit.
“I’ve tried to answer the questions from the workers in there,” Udall said, pointing back to the Vestas plant that he’d just toured. “They are facing so much uncertainty about their jobs and it’s so unnecessary.”
Pueblo-area residents are familiar with the political stalemate that threatens the 400 jobs at the Pueblo plant. The wind power credit, first created in 1992, has fueled the growth of the wind turbine industry but that tax credit will lapse in December.
Every time that has happened in the past 20 years, sales of turbines have slumped severely the following year. Neither supporters or critics dispute that.
It is an industry that has rapidly grown, but needs that federal credit to continue to expand. The credit has both Democratic and Republican supporters but it is one on a list of business and energy tax credits that the House Republican budget plan no longer endorses.
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