It's one week after the election, and I have some friendly advice for every Republican in Congress: Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and renew the production tax credit for wind energy before it expires at the end of the year. Here are five reasons why I'd tell them it's time to finally get this done:
1. The American people strongly believe we should make clean, renewable energy a priority. And last week's election results made it clear that it's the American people you answer to -- not the Koch brothers.
2. Speaking of the brothers K... Yes, they and other dirty-energy enthusiasts would love to set wind energy back. But apart from Mitt Romney, polluters were the biggest losers in this election. Ignore them and listen to your real constituents -- the voters.
3. The U.S. has tremendous wind resources -- but for some reason the wind blows strongest in states (like Texas, Kansas and South Dakota) that vote Republican. Texas has more installed wind power than any other state (10 gigawatts, which is like five Hoover Dams). And South Dakota gets a whopping 22 percent of its power generation from wind. In fact, 81 percent of all wind installed in the United is located in Republican districts. No wonder Republicans governors Terry Branstad of Iowa and Sam Brownback of Kansas have joined the call for renewing the tax credit.
4. Almost last but definitely not least: the United States stands to lose up to 37,000 jobs if the credit expires. And don't forget: Most of those lost jobs will be in Republican districts.
5. Taking away a tax credit is really the same as raising taxes. Since when have Republicans been so keen to raise taxes?
The production tax credit won't last forever and was never meant to. Right now, though, we need it if we don't want to lose the momentum (and jobs) that wind energy has built up.
I'm not sure how many Republican lawmakers take the D.C. subway to work, but they'd be smart to heed the advice the Sierra Club has plastered all over the Capitol Hill metro station in a new ad campaign: "Wind power makes clean energy, good jobs and better future. Don't blow it."
Want to help? Tell Congress you want the production tax credit for wind extended. Not just because it's good for Republicans but because it's good for America.
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