BY DAN MCGUIRE
response to the opinion column “Support affordable energy by
ending corporate welfare” LJS, Nov. 14) here are three questions
for author Thomas J. Pyle, president of the American Energy
Alliance, with ties to the Koch Brothers oil company.
Why did you fail to call for an end to
government/taxpayer-funded fossil fuel subsidies? Are you going
to call on Nebraska’s U. S. senators and representatives to
repeal oil, coal and gas subsidies? Aren’t oil companies able to
stand on their own without subsidies? The fossil fuel industry
has been getting federal subsidies for 100 years. The cumulative
cost of oil, coal and gas subsidies dwarf wind energy
It’s ironic, if not downright hypocritical, for Mr. Pyle to
complain about the wind production tax credit.
According to the U. S Treasury Mid-Session Review of the Budget
of the United States Government for Fiscal Year 2015 the U. S.
government provides eleven permanent federal fossil
fuelproduction tax provisions with a 10-year nominal annual
revenue average cost of $4.7 billion or nearly $38 billion since
2008, the same time period that Mr. Pyle complains about the
wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) costing $7.3 billion.
Those fossil fuel production subsidies cost U.S. taxpayers 8
times more than the wind PTC during that same period.
Excerpts from a July 2014 report by Oil Change International
state, “The value of fossil fuel exploration and production
subsidies from the federal government have increased by 45
percent since President Obama took office in 2009 – from $12.7
billion to a current total of $18.5 billion. President Obama has
repeatedly tried to repeal some of the most egregious of these
subsidies, but these attempts have been blocked by a U.S.
Congress that has been bought out by campaign finance and
lobbying expenditures from the fossil fuel industry…the U.S.
government also provides billions of dollars of additional
support to the fossil fuel industry to lower the cost of fossil
fuels to consumers, finance fossil fuel projects overseas, and
to protect U.S. oil interests abroad with the military.”
Electricity consumers benefit via the lower cost of wind energy
generation. According to the U.S. Department of Energy 2014 Wind
Technologies Market Report issued August 2015, “The relative
economic competitiveness of wind power improved in 2014. The
continued decline in average levelized wind PPA prices, along
with a continued rebound in wholesale power prices, left average
wind PPA prices signed in 2014 below the bottom of the range of
nationwide wholesale power prices. Based on our sample, wind PPA
prices are most competitive with wholesale power prices in the
Interior region. The average price stream of wind PPAs executed
in 2013 or 2014 also compares favorably to a range of
projections of the fuel costs of gas-fired generation extending
out through 2040.”
Mr. Pyle’s organization appears to deny the negative impact of
fossil fuels on the climate or the need for consumers and
taxpayers to be concerned about climate change, its impacts on
the weather and our food production. The expert, unbiased
University of Nebraska report Understanding and Assessing
Climate Change: Implications for Nebraska, released in September
2014 states: "We need to develop strategies now to adapt to the
changes and this project must begin at the local level.” Its
Executive Summary states, “For more than a decade, there has
been broad and overwhelming consensus within the climate science
community that the human-induced effects on climate change are
both very real and very large.”
Renewable energy is an economic powerhouse for Nebraska and
America. The federal wind PTC facilitates economic development
and should be extended by Congress. Nebraska and national polls
overwhelming confirm that strong majorities of Americans want
more renewable energy, including ethanol, wind energy and solar.
Wind energy is clean, uses no water and pumps billions of
dollars into our economy every year…$100 billion in private
investment since 2008. Wind energy emits zero greenhouse gases
or conventional pollutants. The wind industry employs 73,000
people in construction, development and engineering across more
than 500 U.S. manufacturing facilities. Nebraskans want more
wind energy, not more misinformation from oil industry
representatives and lobbyists.
Dan McGuire lives in Lincoln and represents the American Corn
Growers Foundation. He is also Co-Chair of the Annual Nebraska
Wind and Solar Conference.