Wind champion Sen. Grassley calls out double-standard

As a result of wind power supporting 7,000 well-paying jobs and attracting nearly $12 billion in capital investment in his state, Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa knows firsthand about the success story wind energy has generated there.

Sen. Grassley also knows how well the wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) works. After all, he’s the one that originally authored it. Partially because of the PTC, American wind power now supports 88,000 jobs across all 50 states and has attracted over $128 billion into the U.S. economy over the last 10 years.

That’s why he was well prepared to take on anti-renewable energy special interest spokespersons during a recent Senate Finance Committee hearing.

“It seems to me that then you are trying to tear down renewables to elevate nuclear, which would contradict your testimony that we shouldn’t damage one technology to elevate another,” Grassley reportedly said in reaction to the arguments being made.

Grassley’s response primarily focused on the comments made by Karen Harbert, President and Chief Executive Officer for the Institute for 21st Century Energy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Benjamin Zycher, a widely-discredited opponent of renewable energy with the American Enterprise Institute.

According to Jack Fitzpatrick’s Morning Consult article from June 14, Grassley said it “irritates” him when people criticize “subsidies for one type of energy while disregarding market-distorting benefits provided to other sources” and told Harbert she was “employing a ‘double standard’ rather than sincerely opposing government subsidies.”

Fitzpatrick also reported in March that wind power’s success has as much to do with Republicans supporting it as it does Democrats, mostly because “the number of Republican-held districts with utility-level [wind] facilities increased from 34 to 67 over eight years.” Meaning the economic benefits, jobs, private investment benefiting U.S. communities, are mostly being generated in conservative districts.

In the March story Fitzpatrick later quoted Chrissy Harbin, Director of Federal Affairs for Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group tied to the Koch brothers, in saying “[a] lot of Senate Republicans see [last year’s tax credit deal] as a win-win.”

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