Despite the widespread support for the PTC extension, President Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney have sharply different views. President Obama and most Democrats support the extension; however, candidate Romney's campaign has indicated its desire to let the PTC expire at the end of the year [See WIMS 8/1/12]. The Romney campaign website indicates, "The 'green' technologies are typically far too expensive to compete in the marketplace, and studies have shown that for every 'green' job created there are actually more jobs destroyed. Unsurprisingly, this costly government investment has failed to create an economic boom."
On August 13, House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Henry Waxman released a Memo on Paul Ryan's Budget Cuts to Clean Energy, detailing cuts to key energy programs in the House Republican budget, which he authored and now the nominee for vice president on the Republican presidential ticket. The Ryan budget, which passed the House earlier this year with no Democratic support, would cut billions of dollars in funding for development of clean energy and eliminate programs that have helped support over 60,000 jobs. Rep. Waxman said, "The Ryan budget would reverse progress we have made to advance clean energy technologies. By cutting clean energy initiatives and jobs, while continuing to give billions of dollars in subsidies to oil and gas companies, the Ryan proposal would undermine American innovation and surrender the clean energy market to China. That is not what the American people need."
The Waxman memo highlights five areas in which the Ryan budget would have a significant impact on clean energy programs: (1) it reduces support for energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives; (2) it halts the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) Loan Program; (3) it removes funding for loan guarantees for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects; (4) it eliminates support for green transmission projects; and (5) it maintains nearly $40 billion in tax breaks for oil and gas companies.
The Romney for President website, under its energy plan, indicates, "To begin with, wind and solar power, two of the most ballyhooed forms of alternative fuel, remain sharply uncompetitive on their own with conventional resources such as oil and natural gas in most applications. Indeed, at current prices, these technologies make little sense for the consuming public but great sense only for the companies reaping profits from taxpayer subsidies. . . As for job creation, studies show that "green" jobs might actually hurt employment more than they help it. Green energy is capital-intensive and tends to displace labor. Indeed, the track record in Europe shows that new "green" jobs came at a steep cost. . . The price tag in subsidies was exorbitant, rising to nearly $1.5 million per job in the wind industry. . . The failure of windmills and solar plants to become economically viable or make a significant contribution to our energy supply is a prime example."
Yesterday (August 13), at a campaign stop in Boone, Iowa, President Obama said, "My opponent and I disagree when it comes to homegrown energy like wind. Wind power is creating new jobs all across Iowa. But Governor Romney says he wants to end the tax credit for wind energy producers. Now, America generates more than twice as much electricity from wind than when I took office. That's right. The wind industry supports about 7,000 jobs right here in Iowa. Without these wind energy tax credits, those jobs are at risk -- 37,000 jobs across the country would be at risk. So my attitude is let's stop giving taxpayer subsidies to oil companies that don't need them, and let's invest in clean energy that will put people back to work right here in Iowa. That's a choice in this election."
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