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A Change In The Wind

A couple of days before Thanksgiving last year, the Red State Renewable Alliance (RSRA) gave wind power supporters something for which to be thankful.

Led by John Feehery, a Republican Washington insider, the RSRA backed wind power as it fights for a wind power production tax credit extension, despite the Republican Party talking points promoting the contrary.

Feehery has had stints as the communications director for former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, along with former Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

Individual elected Republicans have stood up in support of the wind energy tax credit, and have found themselves aligned with groups such as the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council, but the RSRA is one of the first groups to be a safe haven for wind-friendly Republicans.

“Studies show that the wind energy production tax credit pays for itself, cuts utility costs for consumers, and we all know that it is a clean energy resource,” Feehery said in a statement. ”We at the Red State Renewable Alliance will tell the story of wind energy and the wind PTC in new and innovative ways, and we will convert the doubters out there.”

The group has pointed out that 75 percent of U.S. wind capacity is in Congressional districts held by Republicans; 67 percent of wind manufacturing plants are in GOP districts; and 71 percent of districts held by Republicans have either wind turbines or component manufacturing facilities.

The RSRA comes at a time when Republicans are attempting to adapt to a changing society and culture. The party is struggling to become less repellent to women and various minorities, so it is not inconceivable that party leaders may decide to abandon the anti-renewable philosophy as well. Especially with recent polls showing overwhelming public support for renewable energy programs.

Ultimately, the RSRA signals the possibility for large-scale bipartisan legislation pertaining to renewable energy and the climate, which is long overdue.

Perhaps now the United States can join the ranks of other countries to combat climate change in a strong, coordinated manner.

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