The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens


Obama promotes wind while Romney promotes coal

President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney both turned their campaigns toward energy today, with Obama promoting wind energy in Iowa while Romney promoted coal in Ohio.

Iowa and Ohio are considered swing states that are vital to each candidate’s prospects.

On a family farm near Haverhill, Iowa, that is home to some of the 52 turbines that make up a wind farm, Obama noted that during his presidency Iowans have benefitted from both the electricity generated from wind and from making the wind towers that hold the turbines and the blades that turn them.

But Romney, he noted, wants to end tax credits for wind energy.

“Unfortunately, what we thought was a bipartisan consensus in supporting wind power has been fraying a little bit during election season,” said Obama in remarks distributed by the White House.

“My opponent in this election says he wants to end tax credits for wind energy, wind energy producers that make all this possible,” Obama said. “He’s called these sources of energy ‘imaginary’; his new running mate has called them a ‘fad’.”

Obama continued, “I think a lot of folks in Iowa would disagree, because wind farms like this and the good jobs that are down in Newton, they’re not a ‘fad’ and they’re not ‘imaginary.’ Seventy-five thousand jobs across this country depend on wind energy; 7,000 jobs in Iowa alone. That’s more than in any other state. These are good, American jobs.”

The White House also released documents showing that the United States is one of the largest and fastest-growing wind markets in the world, with wind power representing 32 percent of all new electric capacity added in the United States last year, second only to natural gas.

The document also said the wind power industry now supports 75,000 jobs across the country and that nearly 70 percent of the equipment installed at U.S. wind farms last year — including wind turbines and components like towers, blades, gears, and generators — was made in the United States, up from just 35 percent in 2005.

At the end of 2011, the states with the most installed wind capacity included Texas, Iowa, California, Illinois, Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, Oklahoma, Colorado, and North Dakota, White House Press Seretary Jay Carney told reporters

Meanwhile, in Appalachian coal country, Romney accused Obama of “waging a war on coal,” and pledged to pursue all forms of domestic energy so the nation would no longer be dependent on sources outside of North America, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“We have 250 years of coal, why in the heck wouldn’t we use it,” Romney said, speaking in Beallsville, Ohio, in front of hard-hat-wearing miners who roared in approval. “We’re going to take advantage of our energy resources to save your jobs, to create more jobs.”

“If you don’t believe in coal, then say it,” Romney told a crowd dominated by coal miners in jumpsuits, according to a Wall Street Journal report. “If you believe that the whole answer for our energy needs is wind and solar, why, say that. Because I know he says that to some audiences out west. But it’s time to tell the people of America what you believe.”

Meanwhile, the Obama campaign has run an ad pointing out that when Romney was governor of Massachusetts his administration regulated the emission of carbon dioxide and that Obama has a program to promote clean coal.