Tester amendment turns Montana coal from black to green

Tester pitches loan program for clean and green energy independence

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Senator Jon Tester today pitched a plan that will help turn 120 billion tons of Montana coal from black to green, giving the Big Sky State a lead role in America's energy independence.

On the Senate Floor today, Tester proposed incentives for carbon capture and sequestration equipment for facilities that convert coal into liquid fuel.  The Senate is expected to vote on Tester's Coal Innovation Direct Loan Program as an amendment to the 2007 Energy Bill later today.

The Coal Innovation Direct Loan Program provides federal grants and loans to coal to liquids facilities, as long as:

  • The     facility's total greenhouse gas emissions are 20% lower than a     conventional petroleum fuel facility.
  • The     facility captures and stores 75% of its carbon dioxide emissions.

"Coal is a big part of the picture when it comes to America's energy independence. We can fuel our country for centuries with the coal we already have," said Tester, a member of the Senate Energy Committee. "It's going to take old-fashioned American innovation to develop coal and clean up the environment at the same time.  This amendment paves the way."

Tester's Coal Innovation Direct Loan Program provides up to $200 million in grants to build new coal-to-liquids plants.  Priority will go to developers who plan to capture more carbon and have lower greenhouse gas emissions.

The Program also authorizes $10 billion in loans to eligible coal-to-liquids plants to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"Sweetening the pot will help move the coal industry in the right direction," Tester said. "It will open the door for Montana's coal industry and simply put, it will make our country safer and more sustainable."

Tester's amendment also requires:

  • Government     agencies to report back to Congress on the effects of coal-to-liquid fuel     on air and water quality, and on public health.
  • Government     agencies to study impact of coal-to-liquid fuel emissions from ground     vehicles and aircraft.
  • The     U.S. Defense Secretary to look into the possibility of keeping liquefied     coal fuel in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Tester's clean and green Coal Innovation Direct Loan Program is Senate Bill 1614.  Senators Robert C. Byrd, D-W.V., Ken Salazar, D-Colo., Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., Jim Webb, D-Va., and Mary Landrieu, D-La., have signed on as cosponsors.