With just days left before Congress heads home for the holidays, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) is still pushing for a vote on a bill extending the existing 45Q tax credit for carbon storage. “Congress shouldn’t be a place where good ideas with bipartisan support fail to move forward,” Heitkamp wrote in an editorial published Sunday in the Grand Forks Herald. “Now, I’m hopeful Congress can come together like we did last year—this time, to pass my commonsense bill extending and expanding the 45Q tax credit to find a path forward for coal-fired generation and make sure that coal remains a key part of our energy mix for decades to come.”
The 45Q tax credit is worth $20 per ton of CO2 captured for geologic storage and $10 per ton for CO2 captured and used in enhanced oil recovery. The program is due to expire once 75 million tons of credits have been used; half of the credits have already been claimed, and the program is anticipated to wind down around 2019.
Lawmakers in both chambers of Congress have introduced legislation to extend and augment the 45Q credit: Heitkamp and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) in the Senate and Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) in the House. However, the bills seem unlikely to advance in the current lame-duck session.
The Heitkamp bill would boost the credit up to $35 per ton of carbon captured for use and to $50 per ton captured for permanent geologic carbon storage. It would also make credits available to industrial sources of CO2, not just the electric sector as has been the case to date.
In a second editorial in the Grand Forks Herald, Brad Crabtree, vice president for fossil energy at the Great Plains Institute, also pushed for a vote on the bill. “As 2016 draws to a close, Congress has one last chance to pass bipartisan legislation that would help provide a viable path forward for the coal industry, increase American oil production and further reduce our reliance on imports, support good-paying jobs in energy country and reduce our nation’s carbon emissions,” he wrote of the 45Q legislation.