U.S Senator Tina Smith Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Reduce Emissions from Fossil Fuels

Senators’ Bill Would Modernize Tax Credit to Better Support Carbon Capture and Storage for Coal Power Plants

WASHINGTON, D.C. [02/11/19]—U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) recently led a bipartisan effort with Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel producers by creating additional incentives for utilities to install carbon capture and storage technology.

The Carbon Capture Modernization Act updates the tax credit system for coal producers and incentivizes the usage of modern technology to return harmful greenhouse gas emissions in the ground, rather than releasing them into atmosphere. Sen. Smith introduced similar legislation last year with former Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota.

“Climate change will continue to threaten our economy and our future if we don’t find ways to decrease our nation’s carbon footprint,” said Sen. Smith. “While we continue to transition to clean and affordable forms of energy, this legislation helps ensure that carbon dioxide released by fossil fuel power plants is captured and stored before it can be emitted into the atmosphere. This bill supports the good work that Minnesota Power, Minnesota’s Rural Electric Co-ops, and other utilities in our state are doing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

“Finding ways to keep carbon in the ground while still making use of fossil fuels to sustain a reliable and affordable electricity supply is a heavy lift requiring action on all fronts.  The technology isn’t commercially available today; making it so is a game changer.  We greatly appreciate Senator Smith’s leadership in introducing a bill that helps Minnesotans in numerous ways.  It paves the way for an innovative project Minnkota Power Cooperative has been pursuing, Project Tundra, to make productive use of carbon from power plants – helping the environment while serving their member-owners,” said Darrick Moe, CEO of Minnesota Rural Electric Association.

“CURC applauds the bipartisan leadership of Senators Hoeven and Smith to introduce the Carbon Capture Modernization Act.  This bill reinforces Congressional support of federal investments in innovative fossil energy technologies, which was demonstrated when Congress authorized the Section 48A tax credits with $1.3 billion in 2005 and when it added another $1.25 billion in 2008.  This bill makes important technical changes to the program that will unlock the unused tax credits in the way Congress intended – to invest in carbon capture technologies that will significantly reduce emissions from the utilization of coal to produce dispatchable electricity and allow our nation to benefit from the economic potential of making carbon a valuable commodity,” said Shannon Angielski, Executive Director, Carbon Utilization Research Council (CURC)

Sen. Smith is also a cosponsor of two other bipartisan pieces of climate legislation that were unveiled last week. The Use-It Act is led by Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R..I), and would aid in the development of carbon capture and storage infrastructure and new technology to pull carbon dioxide directly out of the atmosphere. The IMAGINE Act is led by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Susan Collins (R-M.E.) and would support innovative materials to protect American infrastructure from hazards such as rising sea levels and changing weather and flooding patterns.

In addition to Sens. Hoeven and Smith, the Carbon Capture Modernization Act is cosponsored by Sens. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.). The full text of the bill is available here.