Hoeven Introduces Legislation to Extend Refined Coal Tax Credit

Senator’s Bill, which Heitkamp Cosponsored, Would Support Reduced Emissions, Affordable & Reliable Electricity Generation

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, today introduced bipartisan legislation to extend the refined coal tax credit. The credit incentivizes power plants to pre-treat or refine coal to improve efficiency and decrease emissions of nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and mercury. Senator Heidi Heitkamp cosponsored the bill.

“The refined coal tax credit has made a valuable contribution to reducing emissions in North Dakota and across the country,” Hoeven said. “By incentivizing this pre-combustion technology, we can rely on affordable and reliable energy sources while also improving our environmental footprint. Our legislation will help us continue to realize these benefits by extending this credit and encouraging additional facilities to adopt this technology.”

“We need policies that help enable a path forward for coal while reducing emissions for our existing coal fleet – and this tax credit is a step in the right direction,” said Heitkamp. “This credit would benefit all of North Dakota’s coal-fired facilities – with GRE’s Spiritwood Station outside of Jamestown and Coal Creek Station near Bismarck really driving the front-end innovations on efficiencies that are an example for the rest of the state and country. Congress also needs to pass my FUTURE Act that would extend and expand a key tax credit to encourage technological innovation that would reduce carbon emissions. Combined, these tax credits would support North Dakota’s coal industry and workers well into the future.”       

In a letter to the leadership of the Senate and the House of Representatives, the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives (NDAREC) requested an extension of the refined coal tax credit. NDAREC stated that refined coal “has proven to be an environmental success story. Extension of this credit is needed to provide an economical bridge to a carbon capture future with continued environmental and economic benefits to electric cooperatives and the communities they serve.” 

Further, John Harju, Vice President for Strategic Partnerships at the Energy and Environmental Research Center (EERC) wrote to Hoeven in support of the legislation, saying “it would yield positive environmental benefits” and stressing that the tax credit helps assure that “economical baseload coal generation is available, and continues to provide resiliency and stability to the electric grid.”  

All facilities currently eligible to claim the refined coal tax credit must have been placed in service before December 31, 2011. Hoeven’s legislation would allow these facilities to continue claiming the credit for an additional 10 years. The bill also establishes a 3-year window, from December 31, 2017 through January 1, 2021, in which new refined coal facilities would be able to qualify for the credit. This would not only benefit the coal-generating power plants in North Dakota that use refined coal, it will also support the work of the EERC, which provides services to facilities around the nation to verify that the refined coal meets the standards required to claim the credit.

This legislation comes as part of Hoeven’s efforts to support robust energy development for the nation while also ensuring good environmental stewardship. To this end, the senator is supporting the development of new technologies to reduce emissions from both traditional and renewable energy sources. This includes commercially-viable clean coal technologies, like Project Tundra and the Allam Cycle, as well as efforts like Red Trail Energy’s project to reduce the emissions from its ethanol plant in Richardton.

Hoeven also continues working to advance regulatory relief for the nation’s energy developers, including:

  • Stopping the Waters of the U.S. Rule  Hoeven worked through the Appropriations Committee to defund the regulation in 2016 and 2017. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a proposal to restore the regulations that were in place prior to WOTUS, which was issued in 2015. This is the first of two steps established by the executive order signed by the president last year.
  • Repealing the Stream Buffer Rule – Hoeven helped introduce and pass legislation to rescind the one-size-fits-all Stream Buffer Rule, which was primarily based on mining practices in the Appalachian region and threatened to eliminate thousands of mining jobs.
  • Rolling Back Burdensome Regulations – Hoeven joined the President and Interior Secretary to implement executive orders and begin rolling back regulations that hamper domestic energy production, including the EPA’s costly rules for coal-generating power plants, BLM’s hydraulic fracturing rule for federal lands, BLM’s methane rule and the moratorium on federal coal leasing. The senator also cosponsored and voted for a resolution to repeal the BLM methane rule, for which the administration has proposed a three-year delay while it works to review and rescind the rule.