Sunday, August 24, 2008

MN-06 : Has Bachmann Read HER Bill ?

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has updated her blog encouraging her colleagues to support HR 6716 - Promoting New American Energy Act of 2008. Bachmann is the prime author of the legislation which was introduced on July 31st with seven Republican co-sponsors.

On her blog, she writes : “Renewable energy is currently a sort of second-class citizen in the United States because of its high cost. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), renewable energy plants are generally more expensive to operate than plants using coal and natural gas. But we’re leaving real solutions behind by not changing this disincentive. Tax incentives for renewable plants would help equalize the financial burden, creating more energy production and a number of new domestic jobs.” [Emphasis added]

It’s laudable that she has finally come around to encouraging greater investment in solar, wind, geothermal and biodiesel. But if you read HR 6716, it really is a very limited bill. It changes the deprecation rates for “energy production and distribution facilities” which would include any electric utility nuclear production plants (Sec. 2.3 a-v) as well as any electric utility combustion turbine production plant which is fueled by natural gas (Sec. 2.3 a-viii).

Her own bill will not equalize the financial burden for the renewable energy industry if the same benefit is given to the nuclear and natural gas industries.

Bachmann’s post is an attempt to confuse the voters by implying that she is working to advance renewable energy, yet it is clear that she is offering a broad tax law change without any offset for the lost revenues.

Frankly, Congresswoman Bachmann (joined by Second District Congressman John Kline) voted in February, 2008 against the HR 5351 - Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2008 which has put Minnesota jobs at stake.

Voters in the Sixth District should be aware that DFL candidate El Tinklenberg has written in an OpEd piece “Provide incentives for biofuel, wind, solar and clean coal energy development. American innovation is our key to an independent energy future. While there is general agreement in Congress that economic incentives are necessary to develop alternative energy technologies, the parties quickly split when the discussion turns to paying for them. We can start by eliminating the Bush tax cuts for the richest Americans and using the money to pay for these incentives.”

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