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Environmental group: U.S. tax credit for wind energy not enough
by Daniel J. Graeber
Washington (UPI) Dec 4, 2014

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

An environmental group said a bill extending tax relief for the U.S. wind energy sector pales in comparison to subsidies for the fossil fuels industry.

The House of Representatives, by a vote of 378-46, passed the Tax Increase Prevention Act, which, among other things, extends a tax credit for wind energy resources for another year. The language of the measure states the bill prevents tax increases on "millions of families and businesses as the tax year 2014 filing season begins early next year."

The tax credit for wind energy would've expired with the passage of the bill. Friends of the Earth Climate and energy campaigner Lukas Ross said the bill was a half-measure when compared to the support given to the fossil fuels industry.

"Planning and funding these projects requires a level of long-term certainty that a one-year retroactive extension simply does not provide," he said in a statement.

Rep. Jim Gerlach, R-Pa., said in a statement explaining his vote in favor of the legislation that it was a "short-term patch" that came as a result of political wrangling over long-term tax reforms.

Friends of the Earth argue support for the fossil fuels industry, however, is part of the permanent tax code in the United States. Climate group Oil Change International estimates annual fossil fuel subsidies may be as high as $52 billion annually.

Nevertheless, the passage of the bill was greeted by some as a good stop-gap measure.

"Provisions that encourage the production and use of clean, renewable energy are especially important," Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said. "Farmers and ranchers depend on affordable energy and recognize the importance of fuel and power tax incentives to boost its production and promote innovation."

The House measure now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

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