September 17,2014

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Wyden Calls for Reform to Move America Towards Clean Energy Future

Finance Chairman Says U.S. Should Strive for Energy Exceptionalism; Parity in Tax Policies

WASHINGTON –Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today said the United States needs to be a global leader in modernizing its energy policy to address the mounting challenges facing the world in the 21st century. Wyden said a key component to this effort is pursuing tax reform that creates a level playing-field that would allow America’s clean energy sector to thrive.

“In order to lead the global energy transformation, the United States should strive for energy exceptionalism that addresses the challenges of the 21st century and no longer slows down energy innovators,” Wyden said.  “It’s time to end the crazy quilt of more than 40 energy tax incentives with a modern, technology-neutral approach. Pursuing predictable, level playing-field tax policies could clear the way for America’s clean energy sector to thrive at home and outmatch global competitors.”

Wyden said the tax code must be updated to take the costs and benefits of energy sources into account. He said America’s energy policy must reflect factors such as energy efficiency, affordability, pollution and sustainability.

Wyden also called for an end to stop-and-go treatment of certain energy tax incentives that cause uncertainty and hurt investment for clean energy producers. These short-term extensions also put renewables at a disadvantage compared to traditional energy sources that have tax benefits permanently baked into law.

Witnesses at Wednesday’s hearing included former Senator Don Nickles, chairman and CEO of the Nickles Group; Norman Augustine, retired chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin; Gilbert Metcalf, professor of economics at Tufts University; Ethan Zindler, head of policy analysis for Bloomberg New Energy Finance; and David Kreutzer, research fellow in energy economics and climate change at the Heritage Foundation. Their testimony is available here.

The full text of Wyden’s opening remarks is available here.