Knoxville, Tenn. — Today, the U.S. Senate once again failed to extend critical tax incentives to support the clean energy industries of our region. Although a majority of Senators voted in favor of the Jobs, Energy, Families and Disaster Relief Act of 2008, the clean energy tax legislation did not achieve the 60 votes necessary to move forward according to Senate rules.
I applaud the leadership of Senators Bill Nelson (FL) and Elizabeth Dole (NC) as the only Senators from the Southeast supporting this bill. In fact, Senator Dole was the only Republican from the Southeast to vote for extending clean energy tax incentives, and in doing so, she demonstrated her willingness to set partisan politics aside and move our region toward a clean energy future. I am deeply disappointed that Senators Alexander (TN), Burr (NC), Chambliss (GA), Corker (TN), DeMint (SC), Graham (SC), Isakson (GA) and Martinez (FL) failed to support extensions for these clean energy tax incentives.
Many of the federal clean energy tax incentives that benefit homeowners and clean energy businesses in our region are due to expire in December 2008 if Congress does not act swiftly to extend them. Homeowners and small businesses across the Southeast are eager to invest in clean energy, creating tremendous demand for solar installation companies like Sundance Power Systems in North Carolina and Solar Source in Florida. Increased demand for clean energy also benefits renewable energy manufacturers such as Sharp Solar in Tennessee and GE Energy in South Carolina. These private sector entrepreneurs are leading the nation in clean energy manufacturing, and federal tax incentives are essential to compliment the investments that these business owners are making.
Last week, in an open letter to Congressional leaders, Governors Crist (Florida), Easley (North Carolina) and Bredesen (Tennessee) urgently called on Congress to extend these clean energy tax incentives. Like our clean energy businesses across the Southeast, these Governors are doing their part to create new industries and job opportunities, and they recognize the critical role that Congress must play.
It is imperative that our leaders in Congress work together to extend tax incentives. As they return from the August Congressional Recess, their support for our region’s new and existing renewable industries can provide the momentum needed to move America toward a clean energy economy. # # #