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US House Considers Tax Breaks For Alternative Energy

by Leroy Baker,, New York

24 April 2007

A US House sub-committee has held the first of two hearings on energy and tax policy which focused on specific tax incentives to support the use of alternative energy sources, and carbon reduction.

Commenting on the hearing, Richard Neal (D-MA), Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures issued the following statement:

“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 US 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."

The hearing heard testimony from the American Wind Energy Association, the USA Biomass Power Producers Alliance, the Geothermal Energy Association, the Solar Energy Industries Association, the US Fuel Cell Council, and the Renewable Fuels Association.

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