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Chris Prandoni

Democrats stuff wind PTC and other energy-tax policies in fiscal cliff bill

Posted by Chris Prandoni on Thursday, January 3rd, 2013, 11:14 AM PERMALINK

Yesterday Congress passed HR 8 to mitigate the fiscal cliff, the expiration of marginal tax rates and a handful of tax extenders.

While Republicans fought to extend income tax rates for as many Americans as possible, Democrats were busy loading up HR 8 with misguided energy tax credits. Of the dozen or so energy tax extenders contained within HR 8, the expansion of the already damaging wind Production Tax Credit is certainly the most egregious. Although the wind PTC is only extended for a year, it is now available to wind producers that begin construction in fiscal year 2013. As long as a wind company “begins construction” (an intentionally vague term) in 2013, they can employ the PTC for a full decade whenever the facility begins actually generating intermittent power.     

For the past 20 years, the wind PTC was available to wind generators that began producing energy the same year the tax credit was available. To summarize, if traditional PTC language had been included in the fiscal cliff bill, wind generators would need to begin producing power this year (since the tax credit expires December 31, 2013).

But the PTC isn’t the only distortive tax credit included in HR 8. Below you will find a list of all the energy tax policies included in the fiscal cliff bill, most of which should probably be repealed with the coinciding tax increase offset in a revenue neutral way – the last thing conservatives want to do is help fund Obama’s bloated government. Click here to see JCT’s revenue implications.


  • Credit for alternative fuel vehicle refueling property is extended to 31 December 2013.
  • Credit for 2- or 3-wheeled plug-in electric vehicles. In the case of a qualified 2- or 3-wheeled plug-in electric vehicle, up to 10% of the cost of the qualified 2- or 3-wheeled plug-in electric vehicle, or $2,500 may be allowed as a credit.
  • Qualifying 2- or 3-wheel vehicles need a 2.5 kWh pack (down from 4 kWh), are capable of achieving a speed  of 45 mph (72 km/h)or greater, and must be acquired after 31 December 2011 and before 1 January 2014.
  • Extension and modification of cellulosic biofuel producer credit. The extension now carries through to qualified production beginning before 1 January 2014. Algae is treated as a qualified feedstock.
  • Additionally, the section strikes the term cellulosic biofuel in favor of “second generation biofuel”.
  • Incentives for biodiesel and renewable diesel are extended to 31 December 2013.
  • Credit for energy-efficient existing homes is extended to 31 December 2013.
  • Extension of production credit for Indian coal facilities placed in service before 2009 for an 8-year period rather than a 7-year period. The amendment applies to coal produced after 31 December 2012.
  • Extension and modification of credits with respect to facilities producing energy from certain renewable resources. Among other provisions for municipal solid waste, hydro, and biomass facilities, production tax credits for wind facilities are extended to 1 January 2014.
  • Credits for energy-efficient new homes are extended to 31 December 2013.
  • Credits for energy-efficient appliances are extended into 2013.
  • The special allowance for cellulosic biofuel plant property is extended to 1 January 2014. In addition, algae is treated as a qualified feedstock for such.
  • The special rule for sales or dispositions to implement FERC or state electric restructuring policy for   qualified electric utilities is extended to 1 January 2014.
  • Alternative fuels excise tax credits are extended to 31 December.

(h/t gas2.org)

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A Carbon Tax Makes the Democrats' Overspending Problem Worse

Posted by Chris Prandoni on Monday, December 10th, 2012, 11:19 AM PERMALINK

After Democrats spent the past four years creating trillion dollar deficits, they are now asking the American people to foot the bill. Even with Obamacare's trillion dollar tax hikes set to kick in on January 1, Democrats are still telling the American people that they are undertaxed.

Creating an entirely new revenue stream, a carbon tax would be a boon for Democrats looking to sustain inordinately high levels of federal spending. While many carbon tax proponents argue for a "revenue-neutral" carbon tax—where the federal income tax or payroll tax is reduced by an identical amount—such a bill is unlikely to ever emerge from the halls of Congress. Even if an ostensibly "revenue-neutral" carbon tax were to become law, it would only be a matter of time before tax and spend politicians ratcheted up the carbon tax, payroll tax, and income tax. Opening up another front in the battle to restrain growth of government would be disastrous.

With the economy crawling along at 2 or 3 percent growth and the unemployment rate stuck around 8 percent, a carbon tax would only exacerbate our economic hardship.

Knowing this, Republican Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana and Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas just introduced a resolution opposing a carbon tax. Highlighting the undeniable damage a carbon tax would have on the American economy, Vitter and Pompeo write:

Full article: Click Here

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Support Sen. Vitter and Rep. Pompeo's resolution to oppose a carbon tax

Posted by Chris Prandoni on Monday, December 3rd, 2012, 2:28 PM PERMALINK

December 3, 2012

Dear Senator:

On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and millions of taxpayers nationwide, I urge you to support Sen. Vitter’s (R-La.) resolution opposing a carbon tax. With a wide range of special spending interests advocating for a carbon tax, it is important to show that elected Republicans explicitly, unambiguously oppose a carbon tax.

Increasing federal spending by nearly a trillion dollars annually, Democrats have spent the past four years creating enormous debt and deficits. Democrats and appropriators are now looking for ways to fund their large government.

Opening a new revenue stream for Congress would increase Americans’ tax burden over time. The creation of any new tax such as a VAT or energy tax – even if originally passed with offsetting tax reductions elsewhere – would inevitably lead to higher taxes as two taxes would be at the disposal of politicians to increase. Two smaller tapeworms are not an improvement over one big tapeworm. Tapeworms and taxes grow.

Proving that the government will spend every dollar it can get its hands on, Obamacare represents a $1 trillion tax increase over 2013-2022. And now we are told that Americans are under taxed and that the government needs even more money.

The answer to America’s deficit problem is not higher or new taxes, it is to reduce government spending.

A “carbon tax” would hit every single American. Americans’ utility bills would increase, the price of gasoline would rise, and since nearly every product we consume requires energy, everyday expenses would similarly increase.

It is for these reasons that I urge you to support Sen. Vitter’s resolution opposing a carbon tax.


Grover Norquist

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Is Obama's Treasury Department Planning a Carbon Tax?

Posted by Chris Prandoni on Tuesday, November 13th, 2012, 11:58 AM PERMALINK

The Competitive Enterprise Institute thinks so and today “filed suit to force the Treasury Department to release more than 7,300 emails believed to discuss a new ‘carbon tax’ Obama administration allies in Congress are expected to propose in the upcoming lame duck session.”

The CEI press release continues, “the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., seeks emails on official government accounts that CEI had requested under the Freedom of Information Act.  Treasury has said nothing about this topic publicly, but the existence of such extensive email traffic likely reflects serious ongoing discussions between Treasury officials, outside pressure groups and other special interests groups.”

For more on CEI’s lawsuit, click here.

The trillion dollar question
Since assuming office four years ago, President Obama has overseen annual trillion dollar deficits. Showing no signs of curbing record levels of federal spending, President Obama and the Democrat Party are searching for new sources of tax revenue to finance a bloated government.

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Americans for Tax Reform Opposes a Carbon Tax

Posted by Chris Prandoni on Tuesday, November 13th, 2012, 9:27 AM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform opposes a carbon tax and will work tirelessly to ensure one does not become law.  

Taxing American energy consumption not only opens up a new revenue stream for proponents of big government, but threatens to forever damage the American economy. 

Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist describes a carbon tax this way:

"The creation of any new tax such as a VAT or energy tax -- even if originally passed with offsetting tax reductions elsewhere -- would inevitably lead to higher taxes as two taxes would be at the disposal of politicians to increase taxes.Two smaller tapeworms are not an improvement over one big tapeworm. Tapeworms and taxes grow.   

There is no conceivable way to add an energy or VAT tax to the burdens American taxpayers face that would not violate the pledge over time.  If someone first passed and implemented a constitutional amendment with 2/3 of the House and Senate and 3/4 of the states concurring to forbid the restoration of the income tax, we might more safely consider passing a VAT or energy VAT. And then it would be foolish and economically destructive thing to do."

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Sen. Tester Runs From Anti-Energy Past

Posted by Chris Prandoni on Friday, November 2nd, 2012, 2:24 PM PERMALINK

A new poll this week shows the Montana Senate race is neck-and-neck. What’s at stake in Big Sky Country?

Background: Montana’s natural resources are the envy of the nation. It sits atop the Bakken shale, one of the largest accumulations of crude oil in the United States, which is currently estimated to be capable of producing 3.7 billion barrels of oil; the U.S. Geological Survey may raise that estimate as development continues. In addition, Montana holds over one-quarter of the estimated recoverable reserve base of coal in the United States and was the sixth largest coal-producing state in 2011, supplying 3.8 percent of U.S. coal and distributing it to 13 States. Montana is home to four refineries, as well. Accordingly, the energy industry – from extraction through to processing and transportation – has been a boon for the state’s economy.
Despite this, however, Senator Jon Tester – a lifelong Montanan – has consistently voted against families and job creators in his home state.

Cap-and-trade: Tester voted to allow discretionary spending for a cap-and-trade program, and has said that he supports the idea of capping greenhouse gases. A study by the Heritage Foundation found that the Senate version of cap-and-trade, the Lieberman-Warner bill, would cost Montana 2,779 manufacturing jobs, diminish Montana’s GDP $273.1 million and decrease the personal incomes of Montanans $337.6 million by 2030. In addition, they found that Montanans would pay an additional $399 (20%) for gasoline, an additional $136 for natural gas, and an additional $274 for electricity by 2025. ATR has long opposed cap-and-trade because of its devastating economic effects – which would crush an energy-producing state like Montana.

Tax Hiking: Tester voted to raise taxes on oil companies – which would not only be passed on to consumers, but hit Montana-based companies hard, leaving them with less money for hiring and growth. In a March 2011 report, the non-partisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) found that Tester and the Democrats’ proposed energy tax hikes would “make oil and natural gas more expensive for U.S. consumers.” The Montana Petroleum Association made clear that Tester’s tax hikes “would increase gas and diesel prices and could jeopardize good-paying jobs in Billings.”
Tester now seeks cover under his Keystone Pipeline vote, pretending that he is a friend of the energy industry. But his record points to the contrary.

Sen. Tester may not like it, but Montana is blessed with fossil fuels – and Montanans deserve elected officials in Washington who will fight for their interests, not march in lockstep with the President’s green energy proposals.

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Sen. Claire McCaskill's anti-energy record

Posted by Chris Prandoni on Wednesday, October 31st, 2012, 9:47 AM PERMALINK

It’s amazing that Sen. Claire McCaskill thinks she can run as an “outsider” in this year’s Senate race. She can claim she’s mainstream and common sense all she wants, but her record tells a different story, as she’s been nothing but a loyal Democratic foot soldier in Washington. On energy in particular, she’s voted against Missouri over and over again.

McCaskill has repeatedly attempted to raise taxes on oil and gas producers – raising costs for energy companies, which would be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices. In a March 2011 report, the non-partisan Congressional Research Service found that McCaskill and the Democrats’ proposed energy tax hikes would “make oil and natural gas more expensive for U.S. consumers and likely increase foreign dependence.” Any person with common sense knows that will mean higher prices at the pump for consumers.

While she votes to hike taxes on oil companies, Sen. McCaskill unnecessarily constrains domestic production by simultaneously voting to prohibit offshore oil drilling. McCaskill has voted several times against offshore oil production – which would have restored American offshore energy production, improved safety and required bureaucrats to process permits efficiently. She opposed the Offshore Production & Safety Act of 2011, which would have opened up domestic sources of energy to drilling which would move us towards energy independence.

No employer in their right mind would want to do business in this kind of environment. As a result, the U.S. has fewer oil fields and refineries operating than it should, and when storms and hurricanes hit the country the little capacity that exists is tightened even more as facilities temporarily close.

Green Ambitions

McCaskill voted for cap-and-trade – despite calling the bill “the biggest giant earmark ever created on the planet” – but said “science shows the need to act against climate change.” The Heritage Foundation estimated that that bill would mean that Missourians would pay an additional $397 (20%) for gasoline by 2025 and that would cost the state 42,071 manufacturing jobs. The U.S. Treasury Department estimated that cap-and-trade would cost families up to $1761 extra in taxes per year. As she noted in a 2011 speech, “the good news is emissions are way down because of the recession” – so maybe a sluggish economy is what she’s going for, after all? That’s the only way to explain why she voted for a bill to allow discretionary spending for a cap-and-trade program.

She supported the Administration’s efforts to classify carbon dioxide as a pollutant, and voted over and over against amendments to block the EPA from regulating CO2 and other greenhouse gases. Even the Missouri AFL-CIO president said these EPA regulations “will both threaten jobs and increase costs on energy consumers in Missouri.” Bear in mind, humans exhale carbon dioxide. From an economic standpoint, this policy is devastating – St. Louis’ Meramec power plant is older, and is likely to close because of these policies.

McCaskill may WANT to move us towards “green” energy solutions, but the fact of the matter is that wind, solar, and biofuels are still not viable without major subsidies and tax preferences from the government. Throwing money at “green energy” means these industries have no incentives to become competitive. In the meantime, Missourians still need to fuel their cars and power plants, and McCaskill is making both of those more expensive.

Missouri is an energy-intensive state, and last year it was ranked sixth in the nation in terms of coal usage. McCaskill’s plans would drive up the cost of energy both for homes and businesses, stretching many to the breaking point.

McCaskill has been nothing but hostile to traditional energy industries since she got to Washington, and she’s sacrificing the country’s best interests in the long-term by standing with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. Missouri deserves the full picture – and a senator who will vote for its interests.

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EPA Regulation of the Day: Greenhouse Gases

Posted by Chris Prandoni on Thursday, October 25th, 2012, 11:16 AM PERMALINK

Quote of the Day:  
“If you want to build a coal plant you got a big problem”- EPA Region 1 Administrator Curt Spalding

Regulatory cap-and-trade
With Congress and the American people rejecting cap-and-trade, the Obama Administration has employed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to achieve similar ends. Delaying job-killing regulations until after the November election, the EPA is currently sitting on numerous proposed rules sure to increase the cost of energy.

A recent report from Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) unearths thirteen EPA regulations likely to hit American consumers should President Obama be reelected.
Every single day until November 6, ATR will highlight a pending EPA regulation.

Greenhouse Gas Regulation: $300-400 billion per year
From the Inhofe Report:

Thus far, EPA has issued regulations governing permit programs and monitoring requirements. Earlier this year, EPA proposed the first source specific greenhouse gas regulations – emissions standards for new power plants. The proposal paints an ominous picture for rate payers: the requirements are so strict they virtually eliminate coal as a fuel option for future electric power generation. In a thinly veiled political move, the agency has put off finalizing the proposal until after the election. Similarly, EPA has punted on standards for existing power plants as well as refineries – standards which will further drive up electricity and gasoline prices. Once these regulations are in place, EPA will proceed to issue regulations, industry by industry, until virtually every aspect of the American economy is constrained by strict regulatory requirements and high energy prices.

Take for example, farms: under federal permitting requirements, sources (i.e. a farm whose aggregate emissions exceed CAA permitting thresholds) would be required to comply with costly permitting mandates and pay an annual fee for each ton of greenhouse gas emitted on an annual basis. Known as the “cow tax”, there would be a cost-per-animal outcome. EPA itself estimates that in its best case scenario, there will be over 37,000 farms and ranches subject to greenhouse gas permits at an average cost of $23,000 per permit annually, affecting over 90% of the livestock production in the United States.

This is just the start of the EPA obsession in trying to regulate every aspect of the country’s energy sector. According to the Inhofe Report, “under the Clean Air Act (CAA), churches, schools, restaurants, hospitals, and farms will eventually be regulated.”

Does your Senator want efficient, reliable energy?
Earlier this year the Senate voted to overturn one of the EPA’s most damaging regulations, the Utility MACT. If your Senator voted “Yes,” they wanted to repeal the Utility MACT; if they voted “Nay,” they voted to preserve the job-killing measure.  

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Three Ways Obama Hides His War on Affordable Energy

Posted by Chris Prandoni on Wednesday, October 17th, 2012, 4:31 PM PERMALINK

During Tuesday’s presidential debate, President Obama dedicated a substantial amount of time arguing that he, in fact, is a huge advocate of traditional energy – coal, natural gas, and oil. In reality, during the past four years Americans have watched gasoline prices double, the Keystone Pipeline needlessly killed, and the phasing out of coal-fired electricity.

While these industries employ millions of Americans, the implications of Obama’s policies affect every American energy consumer. With fewer offshore lease sales, Obama’s has all but assured higher prices at the pump. With less coal being converted into power, Obama has all but assured higher electricity bills.

Below you will find three attempts by Obama to cover-up his war on affordable energy.

Obama: “Now, I want to build on that. And that means, yes, we still continue to open up new areas for drilling.”

One of the President’s first energy actions was to cancel the previous Administration’s five year offshore lease plan, which allowed for drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Slow-walking remaining lease sales, the Obama administration has conducted only 11 of the 21 originally scheduled offshore lease sales. Codifying his plan to inhibit development of oil and natural gas reserves on federal land, Obama’s 2012-2017 lease plan represents the lowest number of lease sales ever offered, according to the non-partisan Congressional Research Service.

Probably the best metric to assess the Administration is the number of oil and natural gas approved Applications for Permits to Drill (APDs). Here the Obama Administration shows its true colors: between 2009 and 2011, APDs were down 36 percent.

Further down the road, Obama’s denied Applications for Permit to Drill will cost consumers at the pump when expected oil and natural gas reserves do not come online. 

Obama: “We have increased oil production to the highest levels in 16 years. Natural gas production is the highest it’s been in decades.”

Nearly all of America’s increased energy production is owed to the development of shale oil and gas wells – 95 percent of which are on state and private lands. In 2010, 6,512 shale wells were drilled in the U.S. compared to 1,131 shale wells drilled in 2001, a 476 percent increase.

So while oil production on federal lands is down 14 percent in 2011, oil production is up 11 percent on private and state lands. Natural gas is the same story with production on federal lands declining by 10 percent in 2011.
The 2011 increase in oil and natural gas production on private and state lands overwhelms the decrease on federal lands, resulting in an oil production net increase of 3.6 percent and a natural gas production net increase of 7 percent.

Indeed, the incredible production gains have occurred in spite of Obama’s policies, not because of them.

Obama: “We have seen increases in coal production and coal employment.”

This statement couldn’t be farther from the truth – both coal production and coal employment are down under Obama’s tenure. In January of 2009 there were 86,600 coal jobs. In September of 2012, there were 82,200 coal jobs – that’s fewer jobs, not more. In fact, the number of coal mining jobs has dropped in 24 out of the 45 months that Obama has been president. Over the most recent 12-month period, the number of coal mining jobs has dropped every month for a loss of over 5,000 jobs.

How about coal production? In January of 2009, America produced 545.8 million tons of coal; now, 507.8 million tons of coal. Again, that’s a reduction in coal produced, not an increase.

Most importantly, the full impact of Obama’s job-killing regulations have not yet been felt. Power plant owners have announced the shutdown of around 36,000 MW of coal capacity due, in no small part, to EPA regulations. This enormous amount of electricity represents approximately 11 percent of U.S. coal electric generating capacity. Undoubtedly, such a huge reduction in coal-fired electricity will be accompanied by a similar huge reduction in coal-based employment.

While most of us aren’t employed by the coal industry, nearly all of us consume efficient, reliable coal-fired electricity. So if you pay an electricity bill, the EPA’s policies directly affect you.

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EPA Finalizes Yet Another Expensive Mandate

Posted by Chris Prandoni on Monday, October 15th, 2012, 12:44 PM PERMALINK

Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) codified their war on American drivers by finalizing new car mileage mandates, otherwise known as CAFÉ standards. Increasing the cost of new cars by thousands of dollars, new CAFÉ rules will require cars built in 2025 to get at least 54.5 miles per gallon. With current 2011 cars averaging 28.6 miles per gallon, the EPA is going to require automotive manufacturers to nearly double fuel economy standards in a little more than a decade.

While the Obama administration has made the 2009 Auto-Bailout one of the center-pieces of their re-election campaign, the reality is that these new rules will affect and cost consumers more money. Emily Wismer, Policy Analyst for Independent Women’s Forum writes:

While it sounds fantastic to drive twice as far on each tank of gas, this extra efficiency comes at a large, up-front cost to consumers: New cars are expected to cost about $2000 more because of this mandate. As a result, many potential new car buyers will be priced out of the market. The effects of higher new car costs will ripple into the used car market, as fewer families will be able to trade in old vehicles for a new car. That means less supply and more demand for used cars, and higher prices for used cars as well.

Ms. Wismer’s $2,000 figure might actually understate the actually cost of complying with the EPA’s newest mandate. Bill Underriner, chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association, estimates that the new regulations could increase the cost of new cars by $3,000 which would “shut almost 7 million people out of the new car market entirely and prevent many millions more from being able to afford new vehicles that meet their needs."

The Obama Administration hails new CAFÉ rules as a necessity to save consumers money at the pump. If higher mileage standards are inherently such a good deal, one has to wonder why the government must ratchet up CAFÉ rules. Consumers are more than capable of deciding what car they would like to drive and what they fill their car up with. Next time you hear about a government mandate coming to save you money, make sure to hold on to your wallet.

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