House Approves Clean Energy Tax Credits, But New Version Could Stall

So the House finally approved the clean energy tax credit extensions after the Senate OK’d a bill earlier this week. But wait! The new House version has some key differences, and some are saying the Senate, the White House and many Republicans will oppose the changes, leading to yet another stall for the clean energy tax credits. In other words, if you weren’t familiar with how frustrating the political process was before, you certainly are now.

Last week, Sen. Harry Reid implored the House not to alter the bill and force another vote: “Don’t send us back something else,” Bloomberg quoted Reid as saying in comments on the Senate floor addressed to the House. “It will not pass,” he added. “If they try to mess with our package, it will die.”

As the blog Grist explains, “The House version strips out tax incentives for oil shale and tar sands development, as well as provisions to support coal-to-liquid fuels.” Environmentalists are happy, but pragmatists realize this is a dire situation.

These clean energy tax credits are crucial to the future of renewable power in the U.S.; many solar and wind companies are dependent on them being passed. If there isn’t some sort of compromise soon, Congress will break for the election. There could be a last-ditch, lame-duck session after that, but the credits expire by the end of the year.