A bipartisan group of governors will make the case for renewing the wind credit Tuesday

Source: By Ben Geman and Zack Colman, The Hill • Posted: Tuesday, November 13, 2012

OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Congress returns to battles over wind, oil tax breaks

STATE OF PLAY: Congress returns to Capitol Hill Tuesday with plenty on lawmakers’ plates.

A must-watch energy item: The lame-duck session will bring battles over extension of soon-to-expire tax credits for wind energy projects.

A bipartisan group of governors will make the case for renewing the wind credit Tuesday, while conservative opponents are also boosting their campaign. See below for more.

Elsewhere, talks over avoiding the “fiscal cliff” of tax hikes and deep spending cuts could be the next battleground over oil industry tax breaks.

E2-Wire will have much more on that soon — don’t forget to check out The Hill’s print edition Tuesday.

Airline carbon emissions in focus: The House is slated to vote Tuesday night on the Senate’s version of a bill to shield U.S. airlines from European Union carbon emissions rules.

A top EU official on Monday announced plans to delay the rules, which have come under heavy fire from Congress and Obama administration officials.

More on that here and here.


Carbon taxes get airing

A senior Treasury Department official will be among the speakers at a forum on carbon tax proposals at the American Enterprise Institute.

Carbon taxes are getting a fresh look as policymakers debate ways to reduce the deficit.

But the idea faces huge political hurdles, and the White House said last week that Obama isn’t going to pitch a carbon tax.

Wind tax credit advocates pressure Congress 

A bipartisan handful of governors will join Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) at a Tuesday Capitol Hill press conference urging Congress to extend the tax credit that the wind industry calls vital.

 The wind production tax credit is one of the hot-button energy issues for the lame-duck session. Scheduled to expire Dec. 31, it credits wind power producers 2.2 cents for every kilowatt-hour.

The incentive has support from Democrats, who have painted it as a jobs issue. It is included in a $205 billion tax extenders package passed by the Senate Finance Committee in August that hasn’t reached the floor.

 Fiscal conservatives have resisted extending the credit, saying it is an unwise use of taxpayer dollars.

 Still, the credit has the backing of several Republican governors and GOP lawmakers from wind-heavy states. And the American Wind Energy Association, the industry’s main trade group, said 81 percent of installations are in GOP-represented districts.

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) and Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) will speak at the event. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) will participate by phone.

Oil industry ramps up tax credit defense

The American Petroleum Institute (API) will detail its new advertising and congressional outreach campaign to defend industry tax breaks in a Tuesday media call.

Democratic lawmakers will likely gun for the $4 billion in annual tax provisions awarded to oil and natural-gas companies as part of a fiscal cliff bargain.

API’s campaign is designed to counteract those moves. The lobby says going after the oil-and-gas industry would unfairly single it out before lawmakers dig into broad tax reform expected to begin in 2013.

Forum looks widely at energy

The consulting firm IHS will host a wide-ranging discussion on energy policy, technology and investment during a two-day conference beginning Tuesday.

Speakers at the two-day event include Erskine Bowles, former White House chief of staff to Bill Clinton and co-architect of the Simpson-Bowles deficit-reduction plan; IHS Vice Chairman Daniel Yergin, a widely cited energy expert and author; and API CEO Jack Gerard.