The Wind Coalition is joining Step Up Oklahoma in working to fix Oklahoma’s budget crisis. But it’s also hesitant in supporting new taxes on the wind industry as a way of solving the problem.
Jeffrey Clark, executive director of the Coalition was asked this week by the newly-formed group of business and civic leaders who announced their plans last week in reforming state government and ending the impasse over the budget problems.
“We’re happy to be included,” said Clark. “We certainly think that the group has been told a story and a narrative about wind energy in Oklahoma that’s not accurate.”
He said it’s his organization’s hope to “dispel the information they’ve been given” and to work with them to find a revenue plan going forward.
Step Up Oklahoma had invited Clark in an email earlier in the week.
“Members of your organization are invited to meet with leaders of Step Up Oklahoma to discuss our entire proposal and present solutions o n how to structure revenues from wind energy,” stated the email from the coalition of leaders around the state.
While oil and gas representatives had been included in the original effort to form Step Up Oklahoma, wind industry leaders had been excluded.
“Please know CEOs from the wind development companies with operations in our state are welcome to participate,” explained the email to Clark. “Some wind developer executives from companies in the Wind Coalition have already spoken to leaders of the Step Up Oklahoma group. Others have been invited through intermediaries and elected officials.”
While Clark said he will join the group, one thing he might not support is a tax on the wind industry to help the state bail itself out of the budget crisis.
“It is concerning that this group would target an Oklahoma power generation source for new taxation that would be above and beyond the taxation that they apply to another facility making the exact same product,” he told the Oklahoman.
“For example, a coal power plant from Wyoming or gas from North Dakota would not bear the new taxes they’ve suggested,” he added. “I think that’s very concerning.”