Despite impassioned pleas that the state no longer can afford to pay subsidies to the Oklahoma wind industry, the State senate late Monday rejected House amendments to a bill to eliminate the refundability of tax credits.
The vote was 18-23 against the House amendments.
“We’re subsidizing an industry with a subsidy we can’t afford,” argued Sen. Marty Quinn of Claremore who led the effort on the Senate floor.
“I’m not against wind,” he professed. “But this program has become unaffordable.”
“I want to end this waste,” he added. “Why can’t it stand on its own two feet?”
But opponents of the elimination move argued it would lead to lawasuits against the state.
“One of the worst bills I’ve had to vote on,” declared Sen. Roland Pederson of Burlington. “It’s a clear violation of the Oklahoma standard we talk so much about in this body.”
Sen. Casey Murdock of Felt led the opposition to the amendment. “Why in the world would we run legislation that kicks sand in the face of investors and say ‘we don’t want you in our sandbox’?”
He suggested it would be a case of Oklahoma going back on its word.
“I”m a man of my word! Wonder why the teachers don’t trust us? We have a reputation of going back on our word and it’s time to change that.”
Sen. A.J. Griffin of Guthrie joined Murdock in opposing the House amendment.
“If we demonize an industry and drive it out, we all lose. Wind energy is here to stay and we should take advantage of it or else Kansas and Texas will,” she argued.