Daines’ pro-coal bill signals move toward ‘American energy dominance’

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) on May 9 proposed a bicameral Republican measure that would extend the tax credit for production of refined coal to protect critical energy jobs in Montana and around the country.

“This bill will protect good-paying energy jobs, support refined coal production, and reduce emissions,” Sen. Daines said on May 10. “This is a win for Montana, this is a win for the environment, and this is a win for American energy dominance.”

Sen. Daines introduced S. 1405 with lead cosponsors including U.S. Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Cory Gardner (R-CO). The companion bill, H.R. 2622, was introduced by U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT) in the U.S. House.

The bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to extend the tax credit for production of refined coal from 10 years to 12 years, according to the text of the legislation. The senators said such action would result in restored investor confidence in refined coal production.

In turn, the lawmakers noted that the proposed bill could generate up to $55 million of economic activity at the Colstrip power plant located east of Billings, Mont., which operates four coal-fired generating units capable of producing up to 2,094 megawatts of electricity. Units 1 and 2 began commercial operation in 1975 and 1976, and units 3 and 4 started in 1984 and 1986.

Nationwide, at least 60 refined coal facilities operate in roughly 25 states, according to lawmakers.

S. 1405 is under review by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, while H.R. 2622 is being considered by the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee.