Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) isn’t yet convinced that Mitt Romney really wants to kill production tax credits for wind energy projects, incentives that have helped fuel a wind boom in the Hawkeye State, a battleground in this year’s presidential election.
But the campaign reaffirmed Tuesday what it said on Monday: that Romney wants the credit, which expires at year’s end, to die. It’s a view that puts the presumptive GOP presidential nominee at odds with some Republicans — including Iowa’s senior senator.
Grassley, a key backer of the incentive, said he has begun reaching out to the Romney campaign in Iowa, telling reporters in the Capitol Tuesday that he wants to “get to the bottom” of the matter.
“I have got to get to the bottom of what they are doing, because I think people that didn’t know what they were doing said it, because [Romney] was over in Poland, he obviously wasn’t thinking about wind energy,” said Grassley, Iowa’s senior senator, referring to Romney’s overseas trip that took him to Poland Monday.
A Romney spokesman announced the former Massachusetts governor’s position in a statement to The Des Moines Register on Monday, and it was confirmed by E2-Wire Monday and again Tuesday. The campaign also provided the comment to other outlets.
Grassley told reporters he has reached out to Romney’s volunteer staff in Iowa already.
Asked by a reporter if he had “choice words” for the campaign about their statement on the wind credit, Grassley replied: “The only thing I’ve said is, it’s strange to me that this would come out of Iowa, where the father of the wind energy tax credit happens to be the senior senator.”
Grassley said he’s not certain of Romney’s stance because he had previously told the campaign he was happy to consult with them on energy issues relevant to Iowa, and they didn’t take up the wind credit issue with him before the announcement that Romney wants the credit to end.
“I reached out to them months ago and said I would be glad to help them on any of this energy stuff — ethanol, biodiesel and wind tends to be very sensitive in Iowa. They never consulted me. I figure since something is coming out of Des Moines rather than Boston, and since the guy they were writing for was in Poland, that the left hand wasn’t talking to the right hand,” Grassley said.
Romney’s campaign headquarters is in Boston.
The credit is scheduled to expire at year’s end absent congressional action.
President Obama is pushing for renewal of the incentive, setting up a stark contrast with Romney in Iowa and other states where wind energy is booming. Obama won Iowa in 2008, but polls show a tight contest between Obama and Romney there this year.