The Sierra Club continued their pressure on lawmakers Monday with the launch of television, radio and online ads. This time they are targeting Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Blair), calling on him to act and renew the Production Tax Credit for wind energy.
“Rep. Shuster has the chance to be a job creator, but instead he is sitting by as family supporting jobs are being lost due to his inaction,” said Jeff Schmidt, Pennsylvania chapter director of the Sierra Club in a press release. “As the TV ads say, ‘Maybe he doesn’t care.’ It’s time for Rep. Shuster to stand up for Pennsylvania jobs and renew the (credit) this summer.”
The ads, part of the Sierra Club’s Wind Works campaign to renew the credit, also hope to protect the 75,000 jobs in the American wind industry, including more than 3,000 jobs in Pennsylvania alone. They said if the tax credit is not renewed, up to half of these jobs could be lost.
The spots will run in Harrisburg, Altoona and Pittsburgh for three weeks and duplicate an earlier ad from the club, which targetted Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Luzerne).
“Both Rep. Shuster and Rep. Barletta have wind projects in their district and constituents whose jobs are on the line if the (credit) is not renewed,” said Sierra Club Associate Press Secretary Kim Teplitzky.
“Already Rep. Shuster has seen wind projects canceled and furloughs announced in his district due to uncertainty around the PTC. Instead of sitting idly by, indifferent to the loss of jobs in their districts, Reps. Shuster and Barletta should join the bipartisan effort to renew the PTC now.”
The attacks come at the same time as an Obama for America press call, which hit a similar note. The call featured Former Secretary of Energy Frederico Pena, Former Iowa Gov. Chet Culver, former Head of the Air Quality Development Authority Mark Shannahan and Pennsylvania Wind Developer Brent Aldefer – who is also CEO and co-founder of Community Energy, Inc.
The group discussed their recent memo, criticizing Romney’s wind energy record and praising President Obama’s.
Aldefer explained what happened the last time Congress delayed renewing the credit:
“We saw what happened in the year 2000, and again in 2004, when Congress delayed renewing the Protection Tax Credit – ultimately they passed it,” he said.
Aldefer added that in that U.S. wind project development dropped to under 1,000 megawatts a year – less than a tenth of what it is now.
“And if the Republicans let the (credit) expire this time we risk falling back to those levels, and we will – next year, 2013 – which means more layoffs, the elimination of Pennsylvanian jobs and the elimination of the expansion of the industry, including small industries like ours.”
According to the American Wind Energy Association, Pennsylvania is one the largest wind energy manufacturing areas in the nation, with 15 wind energy facilities.