Salazar, Linder Named Groundwater Protectors

The National Ground Water Association on April 8 announced that Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and U.S. Rep. John Linder (R-Ga.) have received 2009 Ground Water Protector Awards.

The Ground Water Protector Award honors people in government, industry, and the private sector for their public service efforts in conjunction with groundwater conservation, protection, and use.

Salazar is being recognized for his leadership while serving in the U.S. Senate in promoting tax credits for geothermal heat pumps as an energy-efficient, environmentally friendly tool to help address the nation’s energy needs. Linder is being recognized for his leadership on the Congressional Water Caucus and issues pertaining to groundwater and other water resources.

Legislation was enacted in October 2008 providing tax credits for the installation of qualified residential and commercial heat pump systems.

The tax credits were enhanced in the economic stimulus package that was enacted this year. Now, since Dec. 31, 2008, those that install qualified geothermal heat pumps at a residence are eligible for a 30 percent federal tax credit with no cap. Under the 2008 law, a $2,000 cap had been imposed.

The stimulus bill also established a "Grants for Specified Energy Property in Lieu of Tax Credits" for the 10 percent tax credit for geothermal heat pumps systems (and other eligible technologies) placed under construction in commercial buildings in 2009 and 2010, with other limitations applicable. The grant is intended to assist businesses that may not have sufficient tax liability to benefit from the business tax credits that passed originally on Oct. 3, 2008.

Linder co-chairs the bipartisan Congressional Water Caucus, which he helped form in 2007. Linder said one of his goals in founding the caucus was “to provide an educational and water policy toolkit for members, staff, and organizations off the Hill to use as they confront the challenges we face today, whether it be droughts, legacy infrastructure, inability to recharge our depleted aquifers, devastation to the environment from poorly designed systems of the past, a lack of basic data, or fractured interests.”