By Chris Durden
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
8:47 PM CDT, August 9, 2012
Republicans across the country have lined up behind Mitt Romney in his bid to unseat President Barack Obama. However, there's an issue that could cost the presumptive GOP nominee some votes this November.
Romney says he would allow the Federal Production Tax Credit for Wind Energy or PTC to expire. It's a position that's not sitting well with some in his own party.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, Sen. Pat Roberts and Sen. Jerry Moran along with lawmakers from Colorado, Iowa and other states have come out in support of the PTC. They say it helps spur investment and creates jobs.
The PTC is set to expire at the end of the year. It allows wind farms to receive a credit of 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity they produce.
Last week, a Romney spokesman told the Des Moines Register that Romney "will allow the wind credit to expire, end the stimulus boondoggles and create a level playing field on which all sources of energy can compete on their merits."
There are more than 37,000 wind-manufacturing jobs in the United States. A study by Navigant Consulting on the American Wind Energy Association's website says extending the PTC for four years would nearly double the number of industry jobs.
Even some longtime Republicans who work the wind business say the issue is so important, they'll vote for President Obama who supports the wind energy tax credit. "Right now, the Midwest is experiencing an intense drought, and the wind turbines are producing revenue for farmers, while the crops are not," said Iowan Rob Hach in the LA Times.
"It's time to stop spending billions in taxpayer subsidies on an oil industry that is already making a lot of profit," Obama said during a campaign stop in Colorado. "Let's keep investing in new energy sources that have never been more promising."
Opponents of the tax credit, like Rep. Mike Pompeo, say it cost taxpayers $1.6 billion dollars this year. They argue, like Romney, it's time for energy producers to make it on their own.
According to the U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report, more than 81 percent of all wind generating facilities in the United States are in congressional districts represented by Republicans.
A bill extending the credit cleared the Senate Finance Committee earlier this month. Sen. Roberts voted for it.
Copyright © 2013, KWCH-TV