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New House bill could fight climate change

Special to The Dallas Examiner | 4/17/2017, 3:25 a.m.
Washington, D.C. – On April 6, Congressman Marc Veasey, D-TX, and Congressman Carlos Curbelo, R-FL, introduced bipartisan legislation to help ...
Congressman Marc Veasey and Congressman Carlos Curbelo

Special to The Dallas Examiner

Washington, D.C. – On April 6, Congressman Marc Veasey, D-TX, and Congressman Carlos Curbelo, R-FL, introduced bipartisan legislation to help in the nation’s fight against climate change by making carbon capture technology more attainable. The Carbon Capture Improvement Act, the House bill that complements U.S. Senators Michael Bennet, D-CO, and Rob Portman’s, R-OH, legislation, would help power plants and industrial facilities finance the purchase and installation of carbon capture and storage equipment. The carbon that is captured can be used for Enhanced Oil Recovery or stored underground rather than released into the atmosphere.

“I’m pleased to introduce the Carbon Capture Improvement Act that has garnered bipartisan support because it addresses the financial obstacles of carbon capture and storage technology while protecting jobs and improving the environment,” Veasey said. “Capturing carbon dioxide improves energy security, boosts domestic energy production, and reduces emissions from power plants and industrial facilities to help keep our air clean. That’s a win-win solution for industry and our environment.”

“Carbon capture technology is an innovative, common-sense solution that allows our nation to continue working towards more efficient sources of energy that better protect the environment,” Curbelo said. “By making it easier and more affordable for power plants and industrial facilities to invest in the infrastructure updates needed to make carbon capture possible, this bipartisan legislation would reduce the carbon emissions that are scientifically proven to hurt our environment while protecting and creating American jobs.”

The act allows businesses to use private activity bonds issued by local or state governments to finance a carbon capture project. These bonds are beneficial to consumers and businesses because of their tax-exempt status and because they can be paid back over a longer period of time. If more than 65 percent of carbon dioxide emissions from a given facility are captured and injected underground, then 100 percent of the eligible equipment can be financed with PABs. If less than 65 percent is captured and sequestered, then tax-exempt financing is permitted on a pro-rated basis. This incentivizes a high rate of carbon capture.

“Private activity bonds are a well-developed tool that has been used for decades to cut the cost of financing a broad range of energy-related infrastructure. The time is right to apply them to accelerating carbon capture projects with major economic and environmental benefits – and little cost to taxpayers.” said Dan Reicher, executive director, Stanford Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance and former assistant secretary of energy for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy.