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April 5, 2021 12:00 PM, EDT

US Senators Introduce Carbon Capture, Sequestration Bill

CapitoSen. Shelley Moore Capito at a past press conference. (Ting Shen/Bloomberg News)

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Legislation that would promote carbon capture and sequestration tax breaks was recently introduced by a group of U.S. senators.

In March, Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) rolled out the “Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage Tax Credit Amendments Act,” which seeks to enhance a tax break known as the 45Q, which pertains to carbon capture.

Capito, the ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, explained: “The United States has an opportunity to be a leader when it comes to carbon capture technologies, and this legislation will help us achieve that goal.”

“Not only will it help us protect our coal and natural gas industries, which are so critical to states like West Virginia, but this legislation promotes domestic energy production and reducing our power and manufacturing sector emissions,” said Capito on March 25.

Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage Tax Credit Amendments Act by Transport Topics on Scribd

“Climate change is real, it’s caused by humans, and we need urgent action to address it. Our bill works toward that goal by working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Smith said. “Climate scientists tell us that if we are to avoid the worst of the climate crises, we will absolutely need direct air capture to pull excess carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, and this bill provides increased support for that emerging type of carbon capture.”

The bill would specify that certain credits would be available to projects that commence by the end of 2030. It also would allow for direct payment of the carbon capture credits, and it would increase assistance for direct air capture of CO2 from the atmosphere.

Smith

Smith

Additionally, the 45Q credit would offset tax obligations linked to the Base Erosion Avoidance Tax, and it would revise 48A credit for carbon capture, utilization and sequestration retrofits. The 48A credit is meant for coal facilities.

In background information that the sponsors provided, the legislation aims to “ensure that the credits are utilized to their full potential to create manufacturing, construction and engineering jobs and prevent carbon dioxide emissions.”

“Through increased payments for direct air capture, this legislation will facilitate reduction of carbon dioxide that is already in the atmosphere or that is emitted from hard to de-carbonize sources in industrial and other sectors,” according to the bill’s background.

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“Carbon capture, utilization and sequestration is one of the most critical technologies to combat climate change globally. As we transition to a cleaner energy future, increased investment in [carbon capture, utilization and sequestration] and carbon removal technologies will reduce emissions, keep our energy affordable and reliable, and ensure our continued climate leadership,” said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “Enhancing the 45Q and 48A tax credits will encourage increased commercialization of [carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration] and Direct Air Capture technologies across the nation while supporting clean energy, infrastructure, and manufacturing jobs across the country, including in traditional energy producing communities like those in West Virginia.”

Other sponsors of the bill include Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.), and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa).

The bill was referred to a committee of jurisdiction. Its consideration has yet to be scheduled.

At the start of the session of Congress this year, Democratic leaders expressed a goal of promoting climate change initiatives. That sentiment is championed by the Biden White House.

A $2.25 trillion infrastructure policy plan President Joe Biden recently unveiled proposes massive investments in climate change programs.

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