Why do Republicans hate renewable energy? What is the real issue? It seems to me that renewable energy is the only truly responsible and fiscally conservative path we can take on energy policy and yet the constant conservative carping on this is beginning to make me wonder what is really going on.
For example, why did Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) recently propose an amendment to repeal all tax incentives for alternative energy, including wind energy, which supports thousands of jobs in Pennsylvania alone? Montgomery County, PA was the first wind-powered county in the entire country. A pretty amazing accomplishment, but it seems like Senator Toomey wants to pretend none of that matters while he panders to the fossil fuel industry. How much does converting to renewable energy save taxpayers? Potentially millions, maybe even billions, every year. Shouldn't that be the first concern of legislators? Why are they, and by "they" I mean Republicans, more concerned with protecting tax welfare to the oil and gas industry than with saving taxpayers money?
It is time to level the playing field. The oil and gas industry has received tax subsidies for decades. Taxpayers "gift" the industry billions every year, why? Why does an industry that makes trillions need billion in tax welfare? And why is it only now that we are investing in renewable energy that energy subsidies are being questioned by Republicans like Toomey? And not all subsidies are being questioned, only the ones to renewable energy. Why is that? While it is actually a capital investment to provide credits to the wind industry, as we have for decades to the oil and gas industry, Toomey suddenly decides now that this is "bad" policy.
It was actually President Gerald Ford who authorized $10 billion in tax credits to the natural gas industry. So isn't it time to add up all the money we've given to the fossil fuel industries and put that amount into renewable? We can create jobs, good jobs in manufacturing, research, installation, design and infrastructure. And we can save billions for taxpayers by converting our schools and municipal buildings.
Renewable energy cuts costs, balances budgets, reduces deficits and can create a revenue stream for our public schools. But Republicans like Toomey think this is bad, why do you think that is? Could it be the hundreds of thousands of dollars donated by the oil and gas industry to his campaign?
It is also disingenuous for Toomey to say that extending tax credits for alternative energy like wind is an example of government "picking winners and losers" and not having "a level playing field." We actually did pick winners in the oil and gas industry and, in fact, in response to Toomey's comments during a Senate committee meeting, Senator Grassley (R - Iowa) replied, "The 100-year-old oil and gas industry continues to benefit from tax preferences that benefit only their industry." When, a Republican from Iowa has to make clear there is an unfair playing field that favors oil and gas, it really is time to point out the hypocrisy on this issue.
So what is the real reason that Toomey didn't mention anything about repealing tax credits for oil and gas? Is it because those industries pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into his campaign? Toomey has shown himself to be no friend to the environment, and isn't it time we insist our representatives in Congress vote with science rather than bias? Did you know Toomey has voted in favor of oil drilling everywhere, even in the Great Lakes which include Pennsylvania's Lake Erie?
It really is time for us to elect a Senator who will work to protect Pennsylvania, our jobs and our environment. It is time for us to stop allowing simpleton slogans and paid talking heads of the oil and gas industry to spew lies about "clean" coal or "safe" natural gas. The only true path to clean and safe American energy is renewable energy. Tell Senator Toomey what you think about his efforts to defund renewable energy.
And when the time comes, remember, our vote is way more powerful than all the money the industry can throw at this. We proved that in 2012. Don't let anyone tell you that money can buy an election, because I know this one thing to be absolutely true, my vote is not for sale.
Follow Lisa Longo on Twitter: www.twitter.com/lisa_longo