Heitkamp Bill Would Set Aside $2 Billion in Loan Guarantees for Clean Coal Projects

Turn to the nation's most objective and informative daily environmental news resource to learn how the United States and key players around the world are responding to the environmental...

By Ari Natter  

March 24 --Legislation unveiled by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) would increase tax credits for carbon capture and sequestration and direct the Energy Department to set aside $2 billion in existing loan guarantees for coal projects, among other incentives for CCS technologies.

The legislation, the Advanced Clean Coal Technology Investment in Our Nation Act, aims to create a “viable path forward for the source of energy that provides the United States with almost 40 percent of its electricity,” Heitkamp's office said in a statement.

The legislation also would aim to develop large-scale carbon storage programs to support the commercial-scale application of enhanced oil recovery and geological storage of carbon dioxide, revamp existing CCS and advanced coal research and development programs, and require reports to Congress from the DOE on the economic and technical status of CCS projects, according to a bill summary.

Path Forward for Coal

“Unlike recent proposals by the Obama Administration, Heitkamp's bill helps make it affordable for coal plants to lower their carbon pollution through the use of advanced clean coal technologies,” the statement said. “This would help to provide a path forward for coal-fired power well into the future.”

Under the bill, 25 percent of an existing $8 billion loan guarantee solicitation for advanced fossil energy projects would be dedicated specifically to coal projects, the summary said.

The advanced fossil energy loan guarantee solicitation, announced in July, is for fossil energy projects that avoid, reduce, or sequester air pollutants or greenhouse gas emissions .

Heitkamp's bill also would allow projects that receive other federal assistance to be eligible for Energy Department loan guarantees and would streamline the process for companies to receive federal funding, according to the summary.

“I'm offering a pragmatic solution--not just talk--to put coal on a sustainable path forward,” Heitkamp said in a statement. “It's past time that our country has a true all-of-the-above energy strategy, and I'll push my colleagues and the Administration to support this bill to help us accomplish that goal.”

The bill, to be formally introduced March 25, comes as the Environmental Protection Agency moves forward with new carbon dioxide emissions limits for both new and existing fossil fuel-fired power plants, the cornerstone of President Barack Obama's Climate Action Plan, announced in June.


To contact the reporter on this story: Ari Natter at anatter@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at lpearl@bna.com

A summary of the bill is available at http://www.heitkamp.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/de7bf292-1fcb-4639-b592-6670b57d824b/one-pager.pdf.

Request Environment & Energy Report