Senators introduce bill to extend CCS tax credit

US Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced a bill to promote carbon capture technologies by extending a federal tax credit that encourages investment in carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration.

Using the 45Q tax credit as a starting point, the measure would support a path forward for coal and other existing electricity generation sources while encouraging carbon dioxide’s use in enhanced oil recovery and beyond, they jointly said on July 13.

Extending the tax credit would provide certainty to utilities and other industrial CO2 sources, and incentives to build industrial projects to capture CO2 for more EOR and carbon utilization, the conversion of the gas into useable products, the senators said.

They said the 45Q provision is one of the most important in the federal tax code for providing carbon capture incentives. The bill would provide the federal support necessary to encourage carbon capture investment and implementation through tax credits and other mechanisms, the senators said.

The bill also would make support for carbon capture technologies more robust by increasing the “commence construction” window for carbon capture projects to 7 years from 5, and by increasing the number of years to claim the credits to 12 years from 10, they said.

Four other Senate Democrats—Cory Booker (NJ), Timothy M. Kaine (Va.), Brian Schatz (Ha.), and Jon Tester (Mont.)—are cosponsors. A diverse coalition of utilities, organized labor, and environmental organizations also support the measure, Heitkamp and Whitehouse said.

They noted that a group including Occidental Petroleum Corp. Chief Executive Officer Stephen I. Chazen wrote Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) and Ranking Minority Member Ronald L. Wyden (D-Ore.) an Apr. 5 letter seeking a Section 45Q extension “in any legislative vehicle for tax provisions that emerges in 2016.”

US Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-Tex.) and 16 cosponsors introduced a carbon capture bill, H.R. 4622, on Feb. 25 in the House.

Brad Crabtree, vice-president for fossil energy at the Great Plains Institute and co-director of the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative, said on July 13 that the Heitkamp-Whitehouse bill “provides a performance-based incentive to capture CO2, put it to productive use, and store it safely and permanently underground, helping to preserve and create good-paying jobs, increase US oil production, and reduce emissions from the use of America’s domestic energy resources.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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