HAMMOND – An anti-wind development group distanced itself Wednesday from a letter it signed along with an oil industry-backed group calling for an end to federal wind power subsidies.
A spokeswoman for the Concerned Residents of Hammond said Wednesday the group did not intend to align itself with the conservative group Americans for Prosperity, which is backed by billionaire Kansas oil magnates Charles and David Koch. Americans for Prosperity and a Concerned Residents member signed the Sept. 6 letter along with more than 60 other anti-wind development groups. It calls for federal legislators to allow the Product Tax Credit for wind developers to expire at the end of the year.
The letter was signed by Concerned Residents member Pamela Winchester, who said she was “speaking as an individual, not for CROH,” and did not know CROH’s name would be used in the letter.
“I now understand it was an individual who signed the letter, acting on her own accord to voice her objection to the issue regarding the extension of the Production Tax Credit, and was not meant to represent the feelings of the group,” CROH spokeswoman Mary D. Hamilton said Wednesday.
The tax credit, which provides 2.2 cents per kilowatt for the first decade of a wind farm’s operation, has drawn the ire of Republicans in Congress and its renewal is far from a sure thing.
Mrs. Hamilton said while her group does not align itself with other groups which signed the letter, it does support the expiration of the tax credit.
“The Production Tax Credit should be ended and funding should be diverted to research and technology that develops a renewable energy source that would be viable in the future,” said Mrs. Hamilton. “Unfortunately the extension of the Production Tax Credit issue has become a political football and both sides are just waiting to pounce on every little detail that can be turned into a vote.”
The Concerned Residents of Hammond’s goal is not to stifle wind energy, but rather to educate people on the effects industrial wind turbines can have on communities, Mrs. Hamilton said.
“Industrial wind companies have pulled the wool over the eyes of the American public for far too long and left far too many victims in their path,” said Mrs. Hamilton. “The real victims are the thousands upon thousands of people who now live in divided towns across this country and world; the property owners who have had to move out of their homes because of the noise pollution produced by these projects or who can’t sell their homes because of their devalued prices; the birds, bats and wildlife who have been needlessly killed and maimed by this inefficient form of technology.”
The Concerned Residents of Hammond has also publicly supported the expiration of a federal grant program that awards cash to wind developers in lieu of energy tax credits under Section 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
“Personally, speaking as a taxpayer of this country and state and not as president of the Concerned Residents, I feel any avenue that can be used to inform the American taxpayer about the scam being used to squander their tax dollars, all in the name of ‘green energy,’ deserves to be exploited,” Mrs. Hamilton said. “Would you continue to fund companies that are producing a product that is, on average, 20 percent efficient?”
The group is currently part of a coalition to develop new regulations of the state’s Article X, Mrs. Hamilton said.
Article X calls for the regulation of wind development through a siting board composed of state agency commissions and members of the public, which has the power to override local laws when it comes to the placement of wind turbines. More information about the group’s progress can be found online at croh.info/.