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Congress will miss an important opportunity to give the U.S. economy a much needed boost if they fail to extend the renewable energy tax credits for wind, solar and biomass, the United Steelworkers (USW) said on September 30.
USW president Leo W. Gerard declared, "Policies that spur investment in the emerging clean energy economy are more critical than ever, especially as our nation continues to experience an economic downturn, a failing financial market and a 6.1 percent unemployment rate that's the highest in four years. Failing to extend these tax credits will be detrimental to the industries that benefit from them and to America's job growth. Inaction does little to increase our nation's energy independence and the fight against global warming. Extension of the renewable-energy tax credits also offers a unique opportunity to reinvest in America, and to revitalize our domestic manufacturing and construction industries.”
Gerard cited a recent report by the Center for American Progress showing that two million job opportunities exist for the nation's manufacturing and construction workers – but only if policies are put in place to spur investment in the clean energy economy.
"These tax credits expire in December, so there is very little time left to for Congress to extend them," he stated. He observed that both the House and the Senate have passed versions of a tax credit extension.
"I urge both chambers to work on those differences before Congress adjourns,” he said. “Our nation cannot afford to lose the 116,000 jobs the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) projects will be lost, if Congress fails to act."
The USW represents 850,000 members employed in North America's major industries, including the energy sector in oil refining, pipelines, gas and electric utilities, wind, solar and other renewables.