The U.S. Senate is set to vote on either extending the Expiring Provisions Improvement Reform and Efficiency Act (EXPIRE Act), which contains about 60 tax provisions including those based on renewable energy sources, for 2014 and/or 2015, or potentially dropping it forever.
The Senate Finance committee passed the EXPIRE Act in April, 2014 and now the Senate will vote on whether or not to continue to subsidize a variety of tax breaks including the $4,000 tuition deduction, the IRA charitable rollover, tax breaks for transit commuters, and deductions for renewable energy producers and those who add energy-efficient improvements to their homes.
But why does this tax bill matter to everyday Americans?
It matters because the renewable energy companies need the federal subsidies to continue building, growing, and offering alert active energy sources like wind, solar, and geothermal. These renewable resources are helping to make the Earth a cleaner and healthier place to be.
Renewable energy is helping to ensure everyone has clean air to breathe, which is essential to good health. Pollutants caused by electric power plants (the country's largest industrial source of pollution) can cause global warming, mercury poisoning in rivers and lakes, and acid rain. Air pollution like this can cause severe respiratory problems like asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, and even early death.
The Sierra Club found that there are four main health benefits of renewable energy, illustrating why these tax breaks should matter to you:
1. Clean air
Increasing the use of renewable energy sources helps to decrease the dependence on other energy, thereby reducing the pollutants. By reducing air pollution, it can reduce the health hazards that are associated with polluted air.
2. Preserve water
Depending more on renewable energy means less dependence on energy sources like coal. This will save water as well as help keep it clean. Experts have found that it takes 500 times more water to produce one kilowatt-hour of electricity from coal than from wind power. And clean water in rivers and lakes can mean cleaner drinking water.