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VIDEO: Lankford Proposes Ending Federal Wind Energy Production Tax Credit

wind turbine
Tamsin Slater
Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

U.S. Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, wants to end a federal tax subsidy for the production of electricity through wind power. The freshman Republican introduced legislation that would not allow any more companies to qualify for the tax credit after 2019.

During Wednesday morning’s debate on the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016, Lankford said the production tax credit was put in place in 1992 as a short-term incentive for a brand new industry. Lankford argued it made sense to help a fledgling industry when the wind energy tax credit was put in place, but he said over the last 24 years wind generation has increased by 3,000 percent.

“It’s well-developed. It’s economically stable. It’s pulling its own weight in the system,” Lankford said. “We should allow it to continue to fly on its own. It’s not as if wind goes away if we don’t provide a tax credit.”


In December, the Senate renewed the Production Tax Credit for wind energy so that it would drop by 20 percent each year between now and 2019. Lankford says it will cost $17 billion over the next three years.

“We just had an extended argument over how we were going to fund the transportation bill last year when we needed to find $13 billion a year to fund transportation, and we just did a production tax credit for wind that is $17 billion.”

Lankford says the PTC is left undefined in 2020 with the assumption that it will be phased out, and Lankford wants to make sure it is.

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Brian Hardzinski is from Flower Mound, Texas and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He began his career at KGOU as a student intern, joining KGOU full time in 2009 as Operations and Public Service Announcement Director. He began regularly hosting Morning Edition in 2014, and became the station's first Digital News Editor in 2015-16. Brian’s work at KGOU has been honored by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, and local and regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. Brian enjoys competing in triathlons, distance running, playing tennis, and entertaining his rambunctious Boston Terrier, Bucky.
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