Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee Examines Energy Tax Incentives

Apr 19, 2007
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures held the first of two hearings on energy and tax policy this afternoon. Today’s hearing focused on specific tax incentives to support the use of alternative energy sources and carbon reduction.

Subcommittee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) issued the following opening statement:

“I want to welcome you to the first of two hearings to be held by this subcommittee on alternative energy issues. The full committee began this process back in February hearing from scientists and experts on climate change and global warming. They urged Congress to act to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which are a primary cause of global warming.

“Today, we will hear from some industry experts who will advocate for certain tax incentives to support or enhance alternative energy sources and carbon reduction.

“Next week, we will hear from Members of Congress, who will share with us their ideas for tax incentives to help America “go green.”

“Pick up any paper these days and you’re bound to see a number of stories on global warming and how this country must “go green” to combat this serious threat. Being “green” is hot, not just in Hollywood, but here in Washington, too.

“Tom Friedman wrote last weekend that “green” has gone Main Street. So, is that enough to warrant this Committee’s attention?

“I think it is really much more than a trend. As Friedman argues, going green is “geostrategic, geoeconomic, capitalistic, and patriotic.” In essence, he says, “green is the new red, white and blue.”

“Already, a number of U.S. businesses have announced their proposals to “go green” setting specific energy efficiency targets. They have concluded that being green is good for the bottom line as well as for the environment.

“And, Friedman is not the only one to assert that our energy independence is a national security issue. Even the military is trying alternative energy sources in the battlefield. “Too much of our economy and national decision-making is influenced by the price of oil. But to break that connection, we will need a thriving and independent alternative energy sector.

“This Committee is here to review and perhaps update or expand tax incentives for these alternative or renewable energy sources. We will hear that these incentives are still needed, to some extent, in order for these energy sources to remain competitive in the marketplace. “Soon after these hearings conclude, I expect the full Committee will markup tax legislation on these very issues. “So, I am pleased to welcome our witnesses today.

“Representing the American Wind Energy Association, we have Jamie Steve, the legislative director of the Association.

“Representing the USA Biomass Power Producers Alliance, we have Bill Carlson, the Chairman. Mr. Carlson also is the principal of Carlson Small Power Consultants in California..

 “Testifying on behalf of the Geothermal Energy Association, we have Karl Gawell, the Executive Director. While he has represented Geothermal for the last decade, I understand he also has some background in wind energy, as well.

 “On behalf of the Solar Energy Industries Association, we have Rhone Resch, the President of the Association. Mr. Resch is a true believer in alternative energy – he has a 6 kilowatt photovoltaic system on his home.

“Testifying today from the U.S. Fuel Cell Council, we have Robert Rose, the Executive Director. 

“From the Renewable Fuels Association, we welcome Bob Dinneen, the President and CEO. Mr. Dinneen is the ethanol industry’s lead lobbyist in Washington. “And, we also welcome Dr. Nina Bergan-French, the Director of Clean Coal Combustion at ADA-Environmental Solutions, Incorporated.

As a strong supporter of a permanent and robust R&D tax credit, I am pleased she is here to support such incentives. Her firm develops technology to measure and capture emissions.

“I look forward to all of your testimony today.”