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May 23, 2012

Americans Agree With President Obama: Wind Is the Way

WindOn Thursday, President Obama will visit a wind turbine factory in Iowa to promote the critical need for investments in American-made clean energy. Iowa – which already gets 20 percent of its power from wind - is the nation’s second largest wind energy-producing state after Texas and home to TPI Composites, where the President will speak.

On track to produce 20 percent of the nation’s electricity by 2030, wind power has already created tens of thousands of good-paying American jobs while helping keep our families healthy by moving the country beyond dirty energy.

During his visit to Iowa, President Obama is expected to call for the much-needed extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC), the federal policy that has given wind energy a boost by creating American jobs  at places like TPI Composites.  Currently, the PTC is set to expire at the end of the year -- and if Congress fails to renew it, they would deal a tragic blow to our economy, costing upwards of 37,000 jobs. 

Americans recognize the critical value of wind energy and the clean energy economy. That’s why almost two-thirds – 64 percent - of those surveyed in the latest United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll  agree with President Obama that the PTC’s vital job-creating benefits should be continued.  

The Sierra Club disagrees with Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King on many issues.  But we agree with him that the PTC needs to be renewed for the sake of American jobs, clean American energy, and American health.  He deserves credit for standing up to those in his party who would sabotage the growing success story that is the domestic wind industry. 

Still, many in Congress seem to have different priorities, and they might let these clean energy credits slip away – all while pushing for massive tax breaks for the same dirty energy industries that are raking in billions in profits while making our kids sick.

Time and time again, the President has called on Congress to end the more than $4 billion in annual tax giveaways that go to big polluting billionaires in the oil and gas industry. And, once again, the majority of Americans agree. According to a November 2011 report from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, almost 70 percent of Americans opposed federal subsidies for big polluters, with large support from Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike.

The fossil fuel industry has made it clear that they would rather put their reckless agenda and boundless profits before the health and future of American families. While these corporate polluters make huge profits dirtying our air and water, they’re getting tax breaks to help them out. There’s no reason they should get any more of our support when we have the opportunity to support a clean energy economy that creates new jobs and protects our air, water, and our families.

Iowans know it, the President knows it, and the bulk of America agrees: extend the PTC and let the wind blow and our economy grow.

-- Dave Hamilton, Sierra Club Director of Clean Energy

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