When Congress achieves bipartisan consensus on a policy initiative that will benefit Oklahoma families, businesses and the local economy, it's worth noting. That's what happened when the wind energy production tax credit was extended Jan. 1. Not all of Oklahoma's congressional delegation supported the legislation; fortunately, Reps. Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne, and Tom Cole, R-Moore, did. Uncertainty over the tax credit, which is earned by production and not a government handout, had put many wind power projects in the United States on hold, including important investments in renewable energy development in Oklahoma.
This state is eighth in wind energy capacity and ranked fifth nationwide in new wind capacity in 2011. Oklahoma wind power provides enough electricity for 725,000 homes here and in other parts of the United States. Wind power creates quality jobs that can't be outsourced. It generates millions of dollars of revenue for landowners, schools and county governments. It strengthens the economic security of our families and Oklahoma's future generations.
Now that federal lawmakers have eliminated the main obstacle to increasing investment in an energy source that provides clean, affordable and homegrown power, we should ask state leaders to do the same. Ask them to support a growing state industry by maintaining existing laws and not merely look supportive of wind energy with legislation such as House Bill 2268 and Senate Bill 555, which are meaningless and a waste of the Legislature's time and resources.
Jaime McAlpine, Edmond
McAlpine, a petroleum engineer, is president of Chermac Energy Corp.