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Anti-wind groups make odd bedfellows with petroleum-backed nonprofit

Local anti-wind advocates are joining forces with a conservative group backed by oil industry interests to end the federal wind tax credit.

In a recent letter sent to federal lawmakers, 64 organizations across the country demanded that the U.S. government let the production tax credit for wind energy expire at the end of the year.

“This special provision continues the deplorable practice of using the tax code to favor certain groups over others,” they said in the letter. “It is time to end special tax provisions that distort the energy market and increase energy prices.”

Dated Sept. 6, the letter is signed by small local groups such as Concerned Residents of Hammond and the Coalition for the Preservation of the Golden Crescent and Thousand Islands Region but also big, national players like Americans for Prosperity.

Americans for Prosperity is a conservative, free-market advocacy group backed by billionaire Kansas oil magnates Charles and David Koch.

Robert E. Aliasso Jr., co-chairman of the Coalition for the Preservation of the Golden Crescent, said he was approached by Americans for Prosperity with the letter, noted the oil money connection but decided to join this “bipartisan effort.”

Mr. Aliasso, a Henderson Democrat and member of Coalition on Article X – a statewide grass-roots organization that advocates for municipal home rule regarding the siting of energy facilities – said there are better ways for tax money to be spent, such as paying off the national debt or investing in other renewable energy sources such as biomass or solar power.

The Obama administration hopes to renew the $12 billion tax credit, which provides 2.2 cents per kilowatt for the first decade of a wind farm’s operation, while Republican challenger Mitt Romney seeks to end the wind power subsidies.

“Whenever the government protects a particular industry, as it has with wind energy production, the industry tends to remain dependent on it,” the organizations against wind subsidies said in their letter. “The PTC (Production Tax Credit) was created in 1992 to get the wind industry off the ground. Yet 20 years later, we have little to show for it. We’re still providing a $5 billion special tax break each year for an industry that supplies just over 2 percent of our power.”