NeFU board calls on state's congressional delegation to endorse, advocate passage of the wind energy tax credit, support ethanol RFS
At their recent spring meeting, the Nebraska Farmers Union board of directors unanimously adopted a resolution calling on all members of Nebraska’s congressional delegation to actively support and advocate for inclusion and passage of the renewable energy Production Tax Credit and Investment Tax Credit that were included April 3 with bipartisan support as part of the tax extenders package as reported out by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee.
“We applaud the work of the Senate Finance Committee and urge Nebraska’s U.S. Senate and House of Representative members to actively push for swift passage of this critically important policy driver for continued growth of the Nebraska and U.S. wind energy industry,” said Dan McGuire NeFU District 5 director from Lincoln. “It’s one thing to talk about supporting renewable energy, but voting for the PTC and ITC is the real test. We need Nebraska’s entire delegation to weigh in quickly and announce their support so that the PTC and ITC extension will send the right message to investors so wind energy development can expand on the estimated 85,000 jobs it has already created. These incentives have facilitated investments of $15 billion a year into new U.S. wind farms and created orders for over 550 American factories in the supply chain according to the American Wind Energy Association.
“Extension of the PTC and ITC is a big economic deal for Nebraska’s future wind energy development. Nebraskans need the U.S. House of Representatives to act in a positive way as soon as possible just as the Senate Finance Committee did,” said John Hansen, NeFU president. “Nebraska is estimated to have an installed capacity of just over 1,200 megawatts of wind energy by the end of 2015 based on the prior PTC that expired Dec. 31, 2013. Nebraska has the opportunity to do so much more as a state to capture the rural economic development benefits that go hand-in-hand with the wind energy PTC and ITC. These are critical public policy tools that are essential for Nebraska to catch up to our bordering states that are outdistancing Nebraska in terms of wind energy development. Iowa and South Dakota are getting over 20 percent of their electric generation from wind energy because they know how to use the wind PTC and ITC. The congressional delegations in those states weigh in and support the PTC and ITC as does the Governor’s Wind Coalition.”
“The time is now and it is critical that Nebraska’s entire congressional delegation publicly state their support for and commitment to defend the ethanol Renewable Fuels Standards against attacks from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and anti-renewable energy activists,” said Gale Lush, NeFU District 3 director from Wilcox. “I want to remind everyone that ethanol is an economic superstar for Nebraska’s economy. There are currently 24 active ethanol production plants in Nebraska, with a combined production capacity of over 2 billion gallons of ethanol each year, and requiring more than 700 million bushels of grain in the process. These ethanol plants represent more than $5 billion in capital investment in the state and provide direct employment for some 1,200 Nebraskans. Nebraska ranks second in the nation in ethanol production, and is the largest ethanol producer west of the Missouri River. Geographic position, abundant ethanol supply and reliable, competitive rail transportation give Nebraska a strategic advantage in serving ethanol markets in the western U.S. and Distillers Dried Grains (DDGS) is helping Nebraska’s livestock feeding industry become the national leader.”
“It’s no wonder that over 5,000 Nebraska farmers sent comments to EPA opposing their plan to reduce the RFS target,” added Vern Jantzen, NeFU vice president from Plymouth. “Nebraska’s ag economics professor Bruce Johnson’s analysis showed that ethanol is a key component of Nebraska’s ‘Golden Triangle’ of corn, cattle and ethanol. Johnson reports that ethanol’s 2010 economic contribution in Nebraska included: Direct receipts of $3.4 billion with indirect (multiplier) impacts on other businesses results totaling $4.5 billion in business receipts; total direct and multiplier impacts of $928,000,000 in gross state product; direct labor income of $223 million and a total of $585 million with the multiplier; and 3,000 direct jobs and nearly 8,000 more when indirect jobs are considered. Ethanol does all of this while reducing gasoline prices at the pump for consumers by over $1.00 per gallon. We need all hands on deck to protect the ethanol RFS. It is critical to the ongoing economic success of our state.”
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