Vets Fight for Wind Jobs
Wind is a clean and renewable source of energy, produced here in the U.S.A. It gives communities and military bases – which currently depend on an aging, fragile power grid – more stable options. It provides an alternative to dirty fossil fuels that contribute to climate change.
Wind energy is also creating good jobs, especially for veterans. Many view their work in wind as an extension of their military service: After returning from their missions abroad, veterans are now helping to secure America with clean energy and rebound from recession.
The Wind Production Tax Credit (PTC) is essential to our economic and national security because it encourages wind innovation. However, when the Wind PTC was up for renewal in 2012, its future was jeopardized by a bitterly partisan, dysfunctional Congress.
Operation Free helped bridge that divide by flying dozens of veterans who work in the wind industry to Capitol Hill to meet with their member of Congress. They told powerful stories, including one that convinced a skeptical Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to support the measure:
A Maytag plant, closed in small town Iowa in 2007, is now open for business and employing hundreds – including vets – manufacturing wind turbines.
Shortly after Senator Grassley voiced his support, a fellow Republican on the House side, Rep. Steve King (IA) joined him. They held a joint press conference with two wind champions from the other side of the aisle, Senator Mark Udall (CO) and Jerry McNearney (CA), urging Congress to pass the bill.
Because of the willingness of two Republicans and two Democrats to work across the aisle – backed by the stories of Operation Free veterans leading the way in the wind industry – the extension passed. In fact, it was one of the only major pieces of legislation to pass the 112th Congress with bipartisan, bicameral support. A remarkable feat and victory for energy security.