Keep wind power funded

The federal government should not back away from subsidizing wind power as a developing source of renewable energy.

During last week’s presidential debates, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney reiterated the congressional GOP position to let the wind power tax credit expire at the end of the year.

A time will come to eliminate this subsidy, but not now.

Wind farms have created an economic boom for Eastern Washington, along the Columbia River and parts of northern Oregon. They are creating thousands of jobs, and in some cases providing income for farmers, ranchers and other landowners in rural communities in danger of losing their property during the recession.

The argument against the subsidy is that the wind power doesn’t return enough to the economy or the electric grid to justify the expense. But it has helped. Reports say the industry has created 75,000 jobs and invested billions into developing a supply-chain infrastructure.

Falling natural gas prices and lower power demands during the recession have hurt wind producers recently.

But it is too soon to eliminate federal support for a clean source of energy that creates jobs and may one day contribute an even greater percentage of the nation’s power requirement. Pulling funds now could cripple the industry and quash all of its recent gains.

Today’s wind entrepreneurs are trying to build a new industry and create private-sector jobs. Isn’t that a key position of the Republican campaign?