Tester Fights for Montana Coal Workers and their Families

(U.S. Senate)-Senator Jon Tester is fighting for coal workers and eastern Montana counties that have been impacted by changing coal and electricity markets.

Tester today introduced legislation to expand the Carbon Capture Tax Credit, which provides tax credits to coal power producers and companies that capture carbon dioxide from their units to be used in enhanced oil recovery or directly stored deep beneath the ground. Tester’s legislation, The Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage Act, will incentivize the establishment of new carbon capture and sequestration projects that will provide long-term financial certainty to Montana’s coal power producers.

“Coal plays a pivotal role in Montana’s energy future,” Tester said. “While some folks around the country are turning their backs on coal, I am pushing to expand the Carbon Capture Tax Credit to provide coal country with more financial certainty and encourage American innovation and investments in clean coal technology.”

“Mining, transportation, and burning of coal supports thousands of family sustaining jobs in Montana and across our country. We can protect good paying jobs and the communities they support while still addressing human contributions to climate change. Carbon capture is the solution we must invest in if we’re going to lead the world in truly limiting the release of greenhouse gases. Senator Tester is fighting for our workers and truly looking for solutions to climate change. Montana workers greatly appreciate his efforts,” said Al Ekblad, Executive Secretary of the Montana AFL-CIO.

The Carbon Capture Tax Credit currently provides a $20 per ton tax credit to companies that capture and sequester carbon dioxide or a $10 per ton credit for carbon dioxide that is captured and used for enhanced oil recovery. A facility must capture at least 500,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually to qualify for the tax credit. That credit will expire once 75 million tons have been claimed.

Tester’s bill will increase the tax credit over time to $35 per ton for utilization and $50 per ton for storage for new carbon capture projects, and lower the qualifying threshold to 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year.

Carbon capture and sequestration projects that begin construction within the next seven years will qualify for the expanded Carbon Capture Tax Credit and will be eligible to claim the tax credit for 12 years once the facility is operational.

The Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage Act will make carbon capture projects more economically viable for coal-fired power plants like Colstrip as consumers increasingly seek cleaner electricity. The bill also makes the credit available to other industries and helps ensure that carbon dioxide can be put to good use for other energy development while reducing overall carbon emissions.

Tester joined with Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) to introduce the bill.