Donald Trump, the American Republican Party presidential candidate, has railed against wind energy for years, but he’d face a backlash from members of his own party if he wins the White House and his administration pushes too hard on the issue.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the author of the original wind energy tax credit in 1992, said a hypothetical President Trump wouldn’t be able to get rid of wind power in the U.S. as long as he’s alive. The GOP nominee has railed for years that wind farms are “ugly,” “obsolete” and “terrible for the environment,” among many other criticisms. “If he wants to do away with it, he’ll have to get a bill through Congress, and he’ll do it over my dead body,” Grassley said Tuesday August 30, in an interview with Yahoo News.

Throughout President Barack Obama’s tenure in the Oval Office, electricity production from wind power in the U.S. has tripled, according to the industry’s major trade association. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), a trade group representing the industry, told Yahoo News exclusively that the nation’s installed wind power capacity has reached a milestone of 75 gigawatts, which is enough to power 20 million American homes with electricity.

Grassley said that when the wind energy tax credit was first developed in the late 1980s and early 1990s, everyone believed that the U.S. was going to run out of fossil fuels, in particular petroleum and natural gas. “We knew it had environmental benefits that were very important, but I would say making sure we were more energy independent was the most important reason for supporting all forms of alternative energy,” Grassley continued. “When I got it passed, I didn’t know it would be the big thing it is today, where 31 percent of the electricity in Iowa comes from wind.”

For Iowans, he said, wind energy has created many jobs in construction, manufacturing and maintenance — and it supplements the incomes of farmers. The senator also said that an alternative energy source bolsters U.S. national security, as it makes the country less dependent on the volatile Middle East.

According to Grassley, current members of his own party are mistaken when they cite small-government principles to argue that the U.S. should not subsidize wind energy. Those Republicans do not understand the environment from which the wind energy tax credit grew, and they should let the industry grow to maturity before phasing the incentive out, he said. “Everything about alternative energy is good, good, good, good,” and said. “You’ve got a whole batch of new Republicans in town, and they take the position that government shouldn’t pick winners and losers, but they weren’t around back in the ’80s and early ’90s when we thought we were going to run out of it.”

According to the data provided by AWEA, at the end of 2008, when Obama was first elected president, installed wind power capacity in the United States was 25,065 megawatts — but now it’s 75,221 megawatts, or more than 75 gigawatts.

Johnson Alabi
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