Thursday, March 28, 2013

Republicans Oppose the PTC but Support Oil Subsidies

It is not surprising that many Republicans who oppose the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for renewable energy, support fossil fuel subsidies. Although the PTC was extended through 2013, some Republicans have vowed to continue their push to kill it. Conservatives are well known for their love of free markets and distrust of government subsidies, unless of course it involves fossil fuels. Some Republicans in Congress have made it clear that they will seek amendments that erode the PTC.

Republicans including the 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney, wanted to let the PTC expire. Romney and other Republicans who oppose the PTC say it costs too much and props up businesses with government subsidies.

Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said in an email that Romney "believes the government should stop playing venture capitalist and doling out open-ended subsidies, and instead encourage private sector innovation and market competition.” This is part of the same conservative philosophy that advocates for unbridled free markets and supports deregulation.

In September of 2012, 46 Republicans voted against the PTC while in March 2011, 46 Republicans voted against closing tax loopholes that let Big Oil collect $4 billion in annual subsidies.

Some Republicans, including Iowa Rep. Tom Latham, Sen. Scott Brown, and Gov. Terry Branstad support the tax credits for renewable energy because of the jobs they create. It is estimated that the expiry of the PTC would have resulted in the loss of 10,000 jobs in the wind industry alone.

However there are other powerful members of the GOP that remain opposed to the PTC. Representative James Lankford (R-OK), the chair of the newly formed House Oversight Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care and Entitlements, has made it clear that his Subcommittee is suspicious of the federal government's support for renewables including the PTC.

The wind industry may have received a one-year reprieve, but if some Republicans have their way this extension will be clawed back by subsequent amendments.

Related Videos
A Condensed History of the Production Tax Credit (PTC)
US Government Support for Renewable Energy Projects
The Solar Industry at a Glance: Past Present and Future
Global Wind Energy at a Glance (China, EU, US)
US Wind Energy Doubles and Eclipses Natural Gas in 2012
Why Oil Prices Matter for Renewable Energy

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