Friday, April 04, 2008

Strong Support For Bipartisan Clean Energy Tax Stimulus Act

Apr 3: With oil prices smashing records, and American families and businesses concerned about their monthly electricity bills and the general state of the economy, today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) addressed American’s concerns by introducing The Clean Energy Tax Stimulus Act of 2008 (S. 2821) with Senator John Ensign (R-NV). The Act will provide the continuation of clean energy production incentives and incentives to improve energy efficiency that will create jobs, save people and businesses money, and over time reduce energy costs. This measure is also co-sponsored by 28 other senators including Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM), Ranking Member of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee. The bill is also supported by Democrats like Boxer, Feinstein, Biden, and Stabenow; and Republicans like Hutchinson, Dole, Hatch, Stevens, Coleman and Sununu.

Senator Cantwell said, “The renewable and efficiency industries have been soaring, creating thousands of jobs and diversifying our energy supply. Critical tax incentives are set to expire this year. If both houses of Congress don’t pass a bill, and the President doesn’t sign it into law within the next one to two months, we will start to see as much as $20 billion of anticipated investment in 2008 delayed or cancelled. This could result in more than 100,000 U.S. jobs lost at a time when the country is skidding into a recession, and energy prices keep getting higher.”

Senator Domenici said, “It is time to stop playing politics with our energy future and extend these important tax credits. In 2005, I was proud to help author the largest and most significant tax credits for clean energy technology in our nation’s history. The bill we’re introducing today will extend many of these tax credits to ensure that we can continue to develop alternatives to foreign sources of oil. I look forward to quick action so we can get this done.”

These critical incentives include extending: the Production Tax Credit for investments in wind energy, biomass, hydropower, and geothermal electricity facilities; and the 30 percent investment credit for businesses that install solar or fuel cell equipment. In addition, a set of effective energy efficiency programs were extended to give homeowners tax credits for installing energy efficient furnaces, windows and insulation to make their homes more efficient; offer tax deductions for builders to go the extra mile and build more energy efficient new homes; provide tax deductions for businesses that make energy efficient improvements to commercial buildings; and give tax credits to appliance manufacturers that help lower their production costs for making higher energy saving appliances.

In addition to extending production and solar tax credits, the legislation introduced authorizes $400 million for Clean Renewable Energy Bonds, and extends tax credits for those who modify or build energy-efficient homes and commercial buildings. The bill also extends credits for energy efficient appliances such as dishwashers and refrigerators. Among the technologies that benefit from the renewable energy tax credit are wind, biomass, geothermal, small irrigation power, landfill gas, trash combustion and hydropower facilities.

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) issued a release saying, "This bipartisan bill has a great shot to become law. Study after study has shown that extending these credits is the quickest way to reduce the threat of global warming while creating jobs, saving consumers money and increasing our energy security. This legislation will put us on a path toward a clean energy economy. That's why a coalition of more than 100 business, trade and advocacy groups support extending these incentives. The package will strengthen the burgeoning renewable energy industry, reduce residential and commercial energy costs, generate new domestic jobs and boost a flagging economy."

Access a release from Senator Cantwell (click here). Access a release from Senator Domenici (click here). Access a release from UCS (click here). Access legislative details for S. 2821 (click here). [*Energy]