By Ari Natter
Republicans on the House science committee April 16 called for weaning the wind energy industry from its principal tax subsidy, but proponents of the wind production tax credit said it was being unfairly singled out.
“When the … production tax credit was created in 1992, it was intended as temporary assistance to help an immature energy technology,” Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) said during a hearing held by the House Science, Space, and Technology subcommittees on Oversight and Energy. “But here we are 21 years later, and the subsidy is still in effect.”
The hearing focused largely on a recent Government Accountability Office report that found instances of duplicative and overlapping federal programs to support wind energy.
The GAO report found that the wind energy industry's production tax credit and other incentives totaled $4 billion in fiscal 2011 and had been used to fund a single project. It comes as lawmakers consider comprehensive tax reform that could put energy subsidies at risk.
“Given the current budgetary outlook, Congress must reevaluate the need for and the value of costly energy subsidies,” Lummis, who chairs the Subcommittee on Energy, said in a written statement. “I hope today's hearing serves as an important step in that process.”
The GAO report, Wind Energy: Additional Actions Could Help Ensure Effective Use of Federal Support, is available at http://tinyurl.com/cyl58qe.
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