Renewable energy businesses are breathing a sigh of relief today as the extension of the production and investment tax credits that benefit their industries were approved by Congress as part of the $700 billion bail-out package for the financial industry.
The House of Representatives passed Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, this afternoon by a vote of 263 to 171, and less than two hours later, President George W. Bush signed it into law. The Senate passed it on Wednesday.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said that she is "pleased that the bill includes an extension of tax cuts for clean renewable energy that will create and save half a million good-paying paying jobs in America immediately."
"This was a part of our energy bill last year; it did not survive the Senate. It now has become a part of this legislation. And it is paid for. We fought hard to include these critical tax cuts ... because they are central to job creation," Pelosi said.
The tax credit package will extend the renewable energy production tax credit for one year and the investment tax credit for eight years. The extensions will be partly paid for by a change in the tax code for the oil and gas industry.
After two months of solid organizing, dozens of strategy sessions, late-night phone calls and nearly 700 events planned in all 50 states, the verdict is in: Green Jobs Now was a phenomenal success! The conversation has turned to next steps: now that we’ve all stood up and voiced our demand for green jobs in our communities, where do we go from here?
Last night in the Vice Presidential debate, you heard both Senator Biden and Governor Palin touting their support for "clean coal". Today, President Bush signed a $700 "bailout" bill passed by Congress that provides important tax credit extensions for renewable energy and energy efficiency measures--but also gives $25 billion in tax credits to the coal industry.
Both presidential campaigns and our Congress are missing the point: Conventional coal-burning power plants are the leading cause of global warming pollution in the United States.
"Clean Coal" is a myth--a contradiction in terms. Coal companies claim they can develop coal plants at some point in the distant future that will capture and sequester carbon pollution. But carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) is unproven and exorbitantly expensive. At best, the technology will not be commercially available until 2030, and installing carbon capture systems will almost double plant costs, which won't provide any relief to Americans' soaring utility bills. We need real solutions, not coal industry myths. Send a message to both Presidential campaigns that we need clean, green energy now.
This week, Stephen Colbert aired a parody on Big Oil’s greenwashing campaign. But like any good parody, there is some truth behind the comedy. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Colbert was hired to help produce some of the advertisements for big oil. Think Progresses’ Wonk Room reports:
The fossil-fuel industry is on track to spend one billion dollars this year propagandizing oil, coal and natural gas. As the Public Campaign Action Fund found, “In the first half of 2008, the major industry players, American Petroleum Institute, BP, Chevron Texaco, Conoco Phillips, Exxon Mobil, Hess Corporation, and Royal Dutch Shell, spent $92.2 million on broadcast and cable advertising; $14.9 million on radio advertising; $57.5 million on print advertising in magazines and newspapers; $5.3 million on Internet advertising; and $4.0 million on other media.”
Yesterday, the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, received a letter (PDF) with 152 Congressional Member signatures urging her to continue her leadership role on climate change matters by supporting legislation that is guided by a set of principles aimed at achieving four key goals:
Reduce emissions to avoid dangerous global warming in line with what the science requires;
Transition America to a clean energy economy;
Recognize and minimize any economic impacts from global warming legislation; and
Aid communities and ecosystems vulnerable to harm from global warming.