Koch Brothers group calls on U.S. Reps Bilirakis and Buchanan to oppose wind subsidies

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On page three of your Tampa Bay Times this morning is a quarter-page ad paid for by Americans for Prosperity, calling on Republican Congressmen Gus Bilirakis and Vern Buchanan to oppose wind subsidies.

The ad says that “Extending the wind energy handout will cost $13 billion over the next decade,” with one photo of a wind farm and another of dollars being printed. It then advocates that readers call the two GOP representatives to oppose such wind subsidies.

Two weeks ago, when Congress returned for the lame duck session, AFP released a letter urging all of Congress to oppose extending the wind production tax credit (PTC), calling it “misguided” and asking lawmakers to reject any legislation that extends such wind subsidies.  It actually ended last year, but there is an effort being made to extend it again to 2015. Under the provisions of the previous PTC, wind generators received a $23 tax credit for every megawatt-hour of electricity they generate. (A megawatt-hour is enough juice to power about 1,000 homes for one hour.)

The big energy companies have also been advocating for Congress not to extend the subsidies. In Forbes earlier this month, three CEOs penned an op-ed also arguing that Congress refuse to extend the subsidies, writing that “the subsidy distorts power markets by artificially suppressing prices.”

Left unsaid is how many subsidies for fossil fuel production that Congress has enacted over the years. Last year  The Natural Resources Defense Council puts them at $78.24 billion per yearThe Christian Science Monitor estimates that $41 billion in annual corporate welfare for oil and gas, $8 billion for coal, $9 billion for nuclear, and $6 billion for ethanol, while wind, solar, and other renewables put together get a mere $6 billion.

Americans for Prosperity is the political arm of the conservative Koch brothers. AFP spent more than $130 million for the 2012 election cycle. In Florida the group has 10 offices, its single largest field operation.




Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.