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Legislative Committee To Examine Wind Farm Tax Credits

Steve Wilson, Wikimedia. Oregon's Shepherds Flat Wind Farm

Oregon lawmakers plan to take another look at a series of tax credits issued to an eastern Oregon wind farm. Legislators will hold a hearing to examine the project.

The renewable energy tax credit program was already controversial because lawmakers hadn't expected such an enormous response when they revamped it in 2007. Now, one New York-based company is under extra scrutiny for getting a $30 million tax credit for a wind farm known as Shepherds Flat.

Some lawmakers and lobbyists say the deal was three times as lucrative for the company as it should have been.

Taxpayer advocate Jody Wiser of Tax Fairness Oregon says the company qualified for three tax credits instead of one by artificially dividing their project into three portions. "They played the game that they thought would work," she says. "And it worked. But it shouldn't have worked."

Wiser says she's not sure if lawmakers can do anything to change the Oregon Department of Energy's awarding of the tax credits to the Shepherds Flat project.

An interim legislative panel will hold a hearing on the topic next month.