Paying the pricePublished 11:24am Friday, October 19, 2012
Daily Herald Editorialsubstances
In the past, this space has carried criticism of Congress and the White House for their mutual failure to develop a sensible, long-term national energy policy. Coverage in Monday’s Herald that pointed out how that failure may directly affect our county further illustrates the point. Short-term thinking about energy is a danger.
Mower County, as much as any place in the United States, has benefited from federal programs designed to encourage wind energy. Wind towers have sprouted like corn from farm fields throughout the region, yielding jobs, local tax revenues and income for landowners. Now, just as that industry is really rolling, it faces a precipice because Congress has refused to extend a tax credit that makes investment in wind energy practical. Nor has Congress (or the president, for that matter) offered any other options that make long-term sense.
In all likelihood, Congress will rush back after November’s election to patch together some kind of tax and budget deal, and wind energy tax credits are likely — but not certain — to be part of it. If the United States had a coherent, wise plan for its energy future, something other than pumping increasingly scarce oil out of the ground, new industries would not face the start-and-stop pattern that now frustrates the wind industry and which potentially puts in danger a major piece of Mower County’s economy.
Making up policies on the spur of the moment, whether taxes, energy or anything else, is bad government. Americans need to demand that their representatives and leaders develop a long-term plan for the nation’s energy future.