Finally, A Clear Romney Stand On An Environmental Issue: Opposed To Production Tax Credit For Wind
Democrats, environmentalists and clean energy backers hope GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's solidified opposition to a key wind energy tax break helps motivate voters in closely contested, windy states to tip the election toward President Obama.
Romney's campaign Monday said for the first time that the presumptive Republican nominee would like to see the production tax credit (PTC) lapse as scheduled at the end of this year (E&E Daily, July 31). That position puts him at odds with Republicans in states like Iowa that want to see the credit extended, and it is a harder line than had been taken by many senior GOP lawmakers, who have said the credit should phase out over a number of years.
The position Romney's campaign has staked out, which ties opposition to the credit to his broader criticism of Obama's support for renewable energy, also may backfire among voters in states with large wind industries, Democrats hope. At the same time, his stand generated cheers yesterday from conservative groups like Americans for Tax Reform and the Club for Growth, which praised him precisely for taking a position that could be politically unpopular.
Extending the credit enjoys broad support nationally, according to a poll conducted earlier this year by National Journal. The poll found that 64 percent of the public, including 48 percent of Republicans and 64 percent of independents, favors extending tax breaks for wind and other renewable resources.
Opposition to the PTC may carry the most political consequences in Iowa, where the news was the top story yesterday in the state's largest newspaper, The Des Moines Register, and where the state's entire congressional delegation -- Democrats and Republicans -- supports its extension.