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Responses from Rep. Welch and Sen. Sanders

November 6, 2012

October 26, 2012

Dear Ms. ,

Thank you for contacting me about wind power in Vermont. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

It is essential that America reduce its dependence on foreign oil by transitioning to renewable energy resources, including wind power. Renewable energy creates good jobs, strengthens our national security and, when properly developed and implemented, reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Decisions related to specific local energy projects should be made by state regulators with maximum community input. Because wind projects change Vermont’s landscape, siting decisions are challenging and have engendered passionate responses from all sides.

I am pleased Governor Shumlin has appointed a commission to review the permitting process for new energy projects and how to better include the views of Vermonters in siting decisions. I urge you to contact the commission with your comments by visiting their website: http://sitingcommission.vermont.gov/public_involvement.

Please keep in touch. I look forward to seeing you in Vermont soon.

Sincerely,

PETER WELCH

Member of Congress

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October 19, 2012

Dear Ms. :

Thank you for contacting me about renewable energy and the Production Tax Credit. I appreciate the opportunity to respond to you on these important issues. I take renewable energy very seriously, and am fighting hard for a meaningful change in direction – toward renewable energy and conservation, and away from our dangerous dependence on polluting fossil fuels, which leaves our health, environment, economy and national security globally vulnerable. The good news, however, is that we now have the technology to make this oil addiction a thing of the past, and revitalize our nation’s infrastructure, economy and environment, creating millions of good-paying jobs in the process.

In order to reduce the carbon emissions that pollute and exacerbate global warming, I introduced The Ten Million Solar Rooftops Act. This bill contains provisions that will lower the cost of solar power and put the United States on track to install solar systems on 10 million homes and businesses by 2020. The legislation will provide grants to communities to help them make their solar energy permitting process less costly and more efficient.

In addition to solar panels, we can also harness other forms of renewable energy. I believe that wind energy is an important piece of developing a comprehensive renewable energy portfolio. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Vermont has the potential to generate 5 billion kWh per year of wind energy for electricity, covering more than 90 percent of the electricity used each year. While I am a supporter of wind energy, it is certainly true that not every area is well-suited to large-scale wind energy development. I believe that in choosing sites for wind energy projects, companies should account for local interests and concerns, not the least of which is abiding by all relevant local laws, rules and regulations. Recognizing the reservations people have about industrial scale wind power, in the 111th Congress I co-sponsored the Rural Wind Energy Development Act (S. 673), which would have increase federal incentives for installing small – no more than 100 kilowatts – wind power systems.

We must continue to generate electricity from renewable sources. I recognize that programs such as the Production Tax Credit (PTC) have facilitated the construction of renewable energy infrastructure and created thousands of new manufacturing and construction jobs. Last year, new wind power represented over a third of all new U.S. electricity generation capacity and is an industry in which the United States currently has a trade surplus with China, Brazil, and other fast-growing developing economies. But unless investors can rely on the production tax credit for renewable energy, similar to the financial supports available to conventional nuclear and oil energy producers, they will cease to invest in renewable energy sources. Without a timely extension, America will lose out on the proven economic benefits and opportunities the PTC provides. For these reasons, I strongly support the extension of the PTC. In December 2011, I signed a letter to Majority Leader Reid, Republican Leader McConnell, Chairman Baucus, and Ranking Member Hatch requesting that the Production Tax Credit be extended.

Again, thank you for contacting me about this important issue.  Feel free to contact me again in the future about this or any other subject of interest to you, or for up-to-date information on what my office is working on please visit http://www.sanders.senate.gov.  While there, I invite you to sign up for my e-newsletter, the Bernie Buzz, at http://sanders.senate.gov/buzz/.  Please be aware that due to security screening procedures, postal mail to my office experiences delays that will lengthen the time it takes me to get back to you.  The fastest way to contact my office is by calling 1-800-339-9834.

Sincerely

BERNARD SANDERS
United States Senator

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