New Billboards Ask Why Rep. Cravaack Doesn’t Care about Minnesota Wind Energy Jobs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 17, 2012

New Billboards Ask Why Rep. Cravaack Doesn’t Care about Minnesota Wind Energy Jobs
Sierra Club calls Rep. Cravaack out on Billboards in North Branch and Duluth

***View the Billboard***

Duluth, MN – Today the Sierra Club launched a new billboard campaign targeting Representative Chip Cravaack for failing to support the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy. The billboards ask why Rep. Cravaack doesn’t care about the Minnesota wind industry workers whose jobs are on the line.

“Representative Cravaack talks so much about the economy, you’d think he’d act to protect Minnesota jobs. But he has done nothing to support his constituents and renew the Production Tax Credit,” said John Doberstein, Sierra Club volunteer and Duluthian. “With as many as 37,000 American wind jobs hanging in the balance, Representative Cravaack must stand up for Minnesota families and work to renew the PTC before the end of the year.”

These billboards continue the efforts of the Sierra Club’s Wind Works campaign, which aims to renew the wind energy Production Tax Credit and protect tens of thousands of American jobs. The campaign recently held a press conference in Duluth with labor unions and the Blue Green Alliance calling on Rep. Cravaack to work to renew the wind energy credit. The wind industry currently supports more than 75,000 jobs across the country, but if the PTC is not renewed by the end of the year, as many as half of these jobs could be lost. Already, layoffs have been announced at manufacturing facilities and new wind installations have been delayed due to uncertainty around the PTC’s fate.

Last October, WindLogics, a St. Paul-based wind patterns analysis company, was forced to lay off 10 employees due to uncertainty around renewal of the PTC. WindLogics is just one of dozens of companies that need the PTC to be renewed in order to bring employees back to work in Minnesota and across the country.

While Republicans in the House of Representatives continue to vote in favor of subsidizing fossil fuels like oil that are raking in record profits, their leadership has so far failed to bring the PTC up for a vote, despite bi-partisan support for the measure.

“In this economy, the notion that Representative Cravaack is willing to hand out pink slips to thousands of wind energy workers across Minnesota is ludicrous,” added John Doberstein. “We need Representative Cravaack to stand up for our workers by supporting an industry that is fueling American innovation and providing good-paying jobs.”

Already, more than 2,000 jobs are supported by the wind industry in Minnesota, and there is room for tremendous job growth if the PTC is extended.

Today, the more than 75,000 jobs supported by the wind industry span across all fifty states. The price of wind power has been steadily decreasing, and when the environmental and health costs of burning dirty fossil fuels are added in, wind is already cheaper than energy sources like coal. Meanwhile, wind generation continues to grow across the country — Iowa and South Dakota currently generate 20 percent of their electricity from wind power, and with the right policies in place, the wind industry is on track to produce 20 percent of America’s electricity by 2030.

To find out more about the wind energy PTC, go to http://www.sierraclub.org/windworks/.

***View the Billboard***

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