The League of Conservation Voters Victory Fund has released a new Colorado-specific ad slamming Mitt Romney's opposition to the wind production tax credit today. The wind industry in Colorado is responsible for approximately 4,000 to 5,000 jobs and more than 35,000 jobs nationwide, a report from the American Wind Energy Association estimates.
In a press statement (LCV) Victory Fund describes the new ad:
With the first Presidential debate taking place this week in Colorado, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Victory Fund today launched a new $500,000 television ad campaign featuring a former employee of a local wind turbine manufacturing plant who says he recently “got laid off because Mitt Romney and his friends in Congress want to eliminate tax credits for wind energy.” The ad begins airing today in the Denver media market and runs through October 7th.
“Mitt Romney pretends his campaign is about creating jobs, but the extreme agenda he and his allies are pushing is already costing Colorado workers theirs,” said Navin Nayak, LCV Victory Fund Senior Vice President of Campaigns. “Instead of looking out for middle class workers like Chris, Mitt Romney is siding with his Big Oil backers and letting America’s clean energy jobs be created in places like China.”
The ad features Chris Maese of Pueblo, Colo., who built wind turbines at Vestas’ Pueblo facility. Vestas is the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer. In the ad, Maese talks about how Romney’s opposition to extending the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy helped cause his layoff in August.
"Until a few weeks ago, I had a job building wind turbines," Maese says in the ad. "When I got hired, when I had the opportunity to work there, I jumped on it. I got laid off because Mitt Romney and his friends in Congress want to eliminate tax credits for the wind industry. I think Mitt Romney is not in touch with the little guy. He's always been a supporter of Big Oil. He has friends that are in the Big Oil industry. That might be great for Mitt Romney and Big Oil, but try telling that to my kids."
Check LCV's facts in the ad here.
If elected, Romney said that he would allow a tax credit for wind energy production companies to expire at the end of the year. His stance set a clear contrast with President Obama, who supports renewing the tax credit that was passed in the 1990s by President George H.W. Bush, but also puts him at odds with some of his fellow Republicans who support the credit.
Leading Republicans in Iowa, a state which has the highest number of wind energy jobs in the country, were disappointed and surprised by Romney's announcement. In a statement to the Des Moines Register, Rep. Tom Latham (R-Iowa) said that Romney's position show "a lack of full understanding of how important the wind energy tax credit is for Iowa and for our nation. It's the wrong decision."
Latham's full statement from the Register:
Nearly 7,000 hardworking Iowans are employed by over 250 businesses associated with the wind energy industry in our state, making Iowa the top state in wind energy employment. A continuation of the wind energy tax credit is in the best interest of our nation's all-of-the-above energy policy for American energy independence and for our economy.
I invite Governor Romney to step forward and re-evaluate the statement issued by his campaign spokesman.
In late September, Romney campaigned in Pueblo telling supporters that, as president, he'd create jobs in Colorado by developing U.S. Energy resources. However, the Colorado Independent reported that wind-power advocate Pete Maysmith, executive director at Colorado Conservation Voters, found his visit to be the "height of irony."
Maysmith added: “If [Romney] was serious about job creation, he would quit catering to his big oil supporters and join the bipartisan support in Colorado for clean renewable energy jobs and extension of the wind production tax credit.”
Romney and other Republicans who oppose the tax break argue that it costs too much -- an estimated $1.6 billion this year -- and props up businesses with government subsidies. However, eight of nine members of Colorado's congressional delegation -- including most of the state's House Republicans (three of four) -- support the tax credits.
The CEO of Vestas Wind Systems Ditlev Engel said that he expects the wind market to fall by 80 percent in 2013 if the tax credit is not renewed, Reuters reported. Vestas operates four factories for wind turbine components in Colorado and announced the round of layoffs at their Pueblo plant in August.