News roundup: Senate Finance to talk extenders, Kansas House defends RPS, Michiganders push for clean energy

Halfway through the week and the news isn’t slowing: Ron Wyden’s Senate Finance Committee is prepared to issue tax extender legislation next week, the Kansas House stood up to special interests in defense of the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, and Michiganders are telling DTE they want more clean power.

Senate Finance will start marking up legislation to renew a bevy of tax extenders, signaling a possible extension of the PTC:

  • The Senate Finance Committee is expected to consider legislation next Wednesday to revive most of the dozens of temporary tax breaks that expired at the end of last year, according to members of the panel.
  • The Oregon Democrat cast the proposal on the so-called “tax extenders” as a way to give a further jumpstart to the economic recovery. But Wyden, who has for years shown an interest in broadly revamping the tax code, also said that he wanted the extenders measure to be a springboard for tax reform.
  • The list of expired tax breaks includes the research and development tax credit that has wide support on both sides of the aisle, and the production tax credit…

The Kansas House of Representatives made clear yesterday that the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard is working, and should stay in place:

  • Less than 24 hours after the Senate voted to repeal a renewable energy mandate for utility companies, the House refused to do so Wednesday.
  • A coalition of Democrats and Republicans opposed the repeal on economic grounds. They contended that repealing the standards would send the wrong message and hurt the growth of the increasingly important wind energy industry, which has brought billions of dollars of investment to the state and created thousands of jobs, especially in western Kansas. “This energy is an export every bit as much as airplanes,” said Rep. Russ Jennings, R-Lakin, who led the revolt against the bill.
  • Many legislators from western Kansas rose to the podium to laud the impact of wind industry in their districts. Rep. Steven Becker, R-Buhler, said that a Siemens plant in Hutchinson that manufactures parts for wind turbines has been a boon to Reno County’s economy. “I extremely, extremely believe that this is the future of Kansas’ economy. Just like other states have the oil and other unique factors that drive their economies we can have wind that drives ours,” Becker said.

People in Oakland County, Michigan, support the state’s investment in clean energy, telling DTE that they want more:

  • Oakland County residents gathered at the DTE Energy Headquarters, at Ferndale Public Library and at Oakland University — urging DTE to make clean energy changes. Activists have gathered more than 3,000 signatures from their friends and neighbors in Oakland County and, on Wednesday, brought the petitions to DTE.
  • “It’s time for DTE to invest much more in renewable energy, wind energy and energy efficiency, (which) are cheaper than old and new coal plants,” said Evan Cissell, a member of the Ferndale Environmental Sustainability Commission, to a DTE representative who accepted the petitions he helped collect.
  • “Air quality in Michigan is better today than it has been in the last 40 years, due in large part to emissions reductions by DTE Energy and other Michigan utilities,” [DTE spokeswoman Randi Berris] said.

Be sure to check out this week’s other news roundups:


Bernie Becker, “Senate Finance to consider tax extenders next week.” The Hill. 26 March 2014.

Bryan Lowry, “House refuses to repeal renewable energy standards.” The Wichita Eagle. 26 March 2014.

Staff, “Oakland County residents urge DTE to make clean energy changes.” The Daily Tribune. 20 March 2014.


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