McKinley, Sewell Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Support Clean Coal

Modernizing the 48A tax credit will make it easier to adopt carbon capture and sequestration technology in coal facilities

WASHINGTON D.C. - Today, Representatives David B. McKinley, P.E. (R-W.Va) and Terri Sewell (D-AL) reintroduced the Carbon Capture Modernization Act, which will advance carbon capture technologies at coal plants.

This legislation would modernize the 48A tax credit’s requirements to make it easier for businesses to receive the tax credit based off of the capabilities of existing technology. This will help promote the adoption of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology and reduce emissions. 

“Modernizing the 48A tax credit will make it easier for businesses to retrofit coal facilities around the nation with carbon capture technologies,” said McKinley. “This bipartisan legislation builds off our work in the last Congress to incentivize the development of carbon capture technologies which will help allow us to use all of our energy resources for years to come while reducing emissions.”

“The damaging impacts of carbon pollution in Alabama and across our country demonstrate the need for a holistic approach to our environmental goals, and carbon capture technology is a necessary tool as we push for a clean energy economy,” said Sewell. “I am proud to support this important legislation, which will contribute to the broader deployment of carbon capture technologies by ensuring the 48A tax credit can be fully utilized to reduce harmful emissions from coal plants.”

The Section 48A tax credit was first established in 2005, and carbon capture projects were made eligible in 2008. However, the eligibility standards for the credit are not technically or economically feasible for carbon capture and storage (CCS) retrofit projects.

When Congress modified this provision in 2008 to include existing coal power plants, they also imposed a new requirement to capture and store at least 65% of the CO2 in order to be eligible for the tax incentive. This requirement is too stringent and unrealistic for retrofit applications. Due to these unattainable requirements nearly $2 billion worth of credits have gone unused.

Joining Reps. McKinley and Sewell as original cosponsors are Representatives Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), Liz Cheney (R-WY), Carol Miller (R-W.Va.), Alex Mooney (R-W.Va.), Pete Stauber (R-MN), and Marc Veasey (D-TX).

The Senate companion version to the Carbon Capture Modernization Act was introduced by Senators John Hoeven (R-ND) and Tina Smith (D-MN) with Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), John Barrasso (R-WY), Jon Tester (D-MT), Steve Daines (R-MT) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) joining as original cosponsors.

“North Dakota’s energy producers are leaders in carbon capture and sequestration. Removing barriers to implementing this technology will lead to more widespread adoption by producers. I am proud to support this bill with Senator Hoeven and Representative McKinley to help spur more use of carbon capture technologies and preserve the future of our energy resources for generations,” said Armstrong.

“In Wyoming, we understand how crucial carbon capture and storage technology is to our overall energy production efforts. Through this innovation, we can continue to take advantage of our abundant coal resources that create affordable energy options for families in a responsible way.  I'm proud to co-sponsor this legislation that will modernize the 48A tax credit’s performance and efficiency standards to reflect the capabilities of existing technology, which will promote the adoption of this critical innovation,” said Cheney.

“Carbon Capture is a revolutionary technology that is ushering natural resource production into the 21st century” said Miller. “This legislation will incentivize investment in this technology to provide high quality energy jobs to the people of West Virginia for years to come.”  

“I am proud to once again be an original cosponsor of the Carbon Capture Modernization Act. This legislation will help existing coal plants qualify for a tax credit to help finance the construction of new carbon capture technologies. These improvements will help extend the life of our coal-fired power plants, ensure reliable energy during extreme weather and protect West Virginia energy jobs,” said Mooney.

“Not only will the Carbon Capture Modernization Act save and create jobs, but it will aide in our efforts to reduce emissions,” said Veasey. “Climate scientists at the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are clear that carbon capture is critical to reaching our climate goals. The Carbon Capture Modernization Act enhances the 48A tax credit to help speed up the deployment of this essential technology.”

“As determined by the International Energy Agency, carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) will be a critical component in the electricity system of the future, ensuring continued reliable, dispatchable power generation and reducing emissions.  The Carbon Capture Modernization Act will be instrumental to deploy first mover carbon capture projects on existing power plants by making critical technical changes to the existing tax credit program, which will unlock nearly $2 billion in tax credits to be allocated as Congress intended – to invest in carbon capture to significantly reduce emissions from electric power facilities.  When combined with the Section 45Q tax credit, the revised Section 48A tax credit will enable financing for carbon capture projects and propel a robust CCUS industry in the United States.  CURC applauds Senators Hoeven and Smith and Representatives McKinley and Sewell for their leadership on this bipartisan, bicameral bill,” said Shannon Angielski, Executive Director of the Carbon Utilization Research Council.

Background

McKinley has been leading the fight to reauthorize the carbon capture tax credit.

  • In 2019, he co-sponsored a bipartisan letter to the U.S. Department of Treasury urging them to issue interim guidance so that project developers can begin utilizing the 45Q tax credit without further delay.
  • In 2017, he was a lead co-sponsor of the Carbon Capture Act (H.R. 3721), which was inserted into the bipartisan budget agreement, which expanded the existing tax credit for carbon capture and make it more appealing. As the House and Senate debated whether to include tax extenders in the bipartisan budget agreement, McKinley:
    • Led a bipartisan letter to House leadership and the House Committee on Ways and Means, urging them to include 45Q in any package.
    • Sent an “Action Alert” to Coal Caucus members.
    • Reached out to Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) about including 45Q
    • Spoke during a Republican Conference meeting about 45Q and talked directly to Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) about the importance of maintaining it.
  • Because of McKinley’s leadership on the issue, the 45Q tax credit was included as part of the bipartisan budget agreement.

Read the full text of the bill here.

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