Romney Anti-Wind Stance: A Swing State Problem?

Every time the tax credit has expired, the wind industry has gone into virtual hibernation – and that’s the forecast again from the American Wind Energy Association. It says 37,000 jobs could be lost if the PTC doesn’t gain an extension, and soon.

romney iowa wind

image via Romney for President

The PTC might seem an unlikely player in a national election focused on the state of the economy, but in what could be harrowingly tight states, even shifting a very small percentage of votes could make a real difference. That’s because in some states — in Iowa, for instance — wind is seen as a jobs issue, and it’s very popular: Public Opinion Strategies, which polls for Republican candidates, reported recently [PDF] that in the Hawkeye State, “More than half of voters (57%), including 41% of Republicans and 59% of Independents, would be less likely to vote for a candidate for President if that candidate did not support expanding American wind power generation.”

Colorado is another swing state where a strong anti-wind stand like Romney’s could be a factor. There, the Denver Post noted Monday that Vestas has said it would likely be forced to lay off most of its Colorado workers – 1,700 people at facilities in Brighton, Windsor and Pueblo – if the tax credit isn’t extended. In Colorado, like Iowa, support for wind is bipartisan; Republican Reps. Cory Gardner and Scott Tipton have both come out in favor of the PTC.

Sports columnist, newspaper desk guy, website managing editor, wine-industry PR specialist, freelance writer—Pete Danko’s career in media has covered a lot of terrain. The constant along the way has been a fierce dedication to knowing the story and getting it right. Danko's work has appeared in Wired, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

    • http://www.facebook.com/albastru.voronet Albastru Voronet

       Windmills kill nearly half a million birds a year, according to a
      Fish and Wildlife estimate. The American Bird Conservancy projected that the
      number could more than double in 20 years if the administration
      realizes its goal for wind power. For years, the wind energy industry
      has had a license to kill golden eagles and lots of other migratory
      birds.
      Over the past two decades, the federal government has
      prosecuted hundreds of cases against oil and gas producers and
      electricity producers for violating some of America’s oldest
      wildlife-protection laws: the
      Migratory Bird Treaty Act and EagleProtectionAct.
      But the Obama
      administration has never prosecuted the wind industry despite myriad
      examples of widespread, unpermitted bird kills by turbines.
      Last
      June, the Los Angeles Times reported that about 70 golden eagles are
      being killed per year by the wind turbines at Altamont Pass, about 20
      miles east of Oakland, Calif. A 2008 study funded by the
      Alameda County Community Development Agency estimated that about 2,400
      raptors, including burrowing owls, American kestrels, and red-tailed
      hawks—as well as about 7,500 other birds, nearly all of which are
      protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act—are being killed every year
      by the turbines at Altamont.
      So keep on pushing on this “green
      energy” while species are going extinct because people refuse to see the
      main reason why we are running out of fuel: OVERPOPULATION. We
      shouldn’t focus on how we can rape our planet of more resources we
      should focus on reducing the world population and then all the problems
      will be solved.
      Check this out: http://www.vhemt.org/

      • Pete

        Most conservation groups, including the American Bird Conservancy, agree that utility-scale wind power is not inconsistent with species protection — and, in fact, believe that it is a necessary contributor to our energy future in order to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The key is good siting. See all our wind/bird coverage here: 
        http://www.earthtechling.com/tag/birds/

        Pete Danko, EarthTechling