Last week, Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) introduced legislation that would restrict the flow of federal stimulus funds for clean energy projects to those meeting certain standards for the provision of domestic benefits. According to Schumer’s press release, this bill, the American Renewable Energy Jobs Act (S. 3069), “would require that aid flow only to clean-energy projects that rely on materials manufactured in the United States and create the bulk of jobs here at home, rather than overseas.” The bill is a response to a report issued by the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University, which stated that 79 percent of the $2 billion in stimulus grants issued for clean energy projects have so far gone to foreign companies. The bill also responds to a controversial proposal by a US-China joint venture to apply for $450 in stimulus funds to create a wind farm in West Texas.
The U.S. wind energy industry has strongly opposed Schumer’s bill. In a statement issued last week, the American Wind Energy Association criticized the study relied on by the bill as “deeply flawed” and argued that the bill itself would put American jobs at risk. This week, wind energy lobbyists have urged Washington lawmakers to oppose the bill and create a federal mandate that utilities generate some power from renewable sources.