Another day, another hypocritical and misleading Koch group letter

Koch Industries and their well-funded web of organizations are once again attacking an important policy for wind power — the renewable energy production tax credit (PTC) – this time with a letter to Congress that makes a claim that even Koch-funded polling disproves.

On Monday, the Koch front group Americans for Prosperity sent a letter to Congress that used misleading talking points to label the PTC a “handout.”

One key fact undermines their credibility: Americans for Prosperity has previously defended tax incentives for the oil industry – tax incentives that Koch Industries has fought for and profited from. When discussing the PTC the fact that all energy sources receive tax incentives is crucial context for understanding the environment that the wind industry competes in.

The letter itself made several misleading claims, including one that even a Koch-funded poll refutes:

KOCH CLAIM: “[T]here remains strong opposition from your constituents and taxpayers to extending” the PTC.

REALITY: Even a poll by the Koch-backed group American Energy Alliance found a majority of voters support for the PTC.

  • A USA TODAY poll found that 73 percent of Americans support continuing tax incentives for wind power in December 2013.
  • A broad bipartisan coalition of 370 companies and organizations and dozens of Republican members of Congress support extending the PTC.
  • Several recently elected Republican members of Congress also support extending the tax credit.

KOCH CLAIM: “We see wind power continue to break its promises of long-term job creation, economic activity, and affordability.”

REALITY: With the help of the PTC, wind costs have declined by more than half in the last five years, spurring economic development in rural communities and creating thousands of well-paying manufacturing jobs.

  • Thanks to improvements in technology, wind has lowered its costs by more than half in the last five years, according to the Wall Street investment firm Lazard. These savings are passed onto consumers.
  • American wind power has supported an average of 73,000 well-paying jobs over the past five years and can create hundreds of thousands more with long-term, stable policy.
  • American wind power has created a brand new domestic manufacturing supply chain stretching across 43 states with over 500 factories.

KOCH CLAIM: “American taxpayers and ratepayers have seen little return on this forced investment in wind energy over the past 20 years.”

REALITY: The PTC has attracted $105 billion in private investment to our economy since 2005, and driven down costs for electricity consumers.

Attacks from the Koch brothers are nothing new – the Koch brothers and their allies sent out another letter just a few days earlier signed largely by Koch-backed groups and even anti-wind Canadian organizations. As E&E News titled its article on the letter, “Another Koch group warns against PTC extension.” Despite their aggressive tactics, we are confident that the broad support for wind energy will overcome these manufactured attacks.


Stay informed

Take Action

Subscribe to the American Clean Power blog and receive the latest renewable energy news, policy updates, and opportunities to get involved.