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Toxic Goals

As the end of the year approaches, the time for the federal government to take action on the wind tax credit is dwindling. Of course, there are vested interests and special interest groups lobbying for each side—extending or letting the credits expire—and some groups are more powerful than others.

Fossil fuel groups have been increasing their mobilization to defeat the credit, and their agendas and intentions are becoming less discreet. The American Energy Alliance, which has ties to far-right Koch Industries, stated this week it aims to make the wind tax credit a toxic issue for House Republicans; Benjamin Cole, spokesperson for the American Energy Alliance, said, “Our goal is to make the [tax credits] so toxic that it makes it impossible for John Boehner to sit at a table with Harry Reid and say, ‘Yeah, I can bend on this one.’”

The justification conservative members of Congress and groups for allowing the tax credits to expire is it will put all energy sources on an even playing field. While a somewhat legitimate justification, it loses credibility knowing they have fought to maintain $4 billion in annual tax breaks for the oil and gas industry. This doesn’t really result in an “even playing field” for all energy sources, and the justifications conveniently ignore that part.

It does appear the wind tax credits will be extended, given broad bipartisan support in Congress, and Republican support is likely, given that 81 percent of U.S. wind projects are installed in Republican districts. It is still alarming there is such overt opposition from groups which give large donations to political allies, though.

The influential abilities Citizens United gave external sources are beginning to take shape and become problematic for political action. Regardless, the wind tax credits should be extended, even if the House of Representatives votes in favor to let them expire.

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