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Bill Limits Carbon From Coal Plants

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Surrounded by leaders in the coal industry, a North Dakota senator has announced a new bill.
Senator Heidi Heitkamp says the new bill will provides incentives for clean coal technology, in the wake of proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations.

Just weeks after visiting with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Heitkamp is introducing a bill to add incentives for coal companies to invest in technology that would reduce the amount of carbon at coal power plants.

"We hope that what we will do with this bill is once again create a narrative that says if you truly believe in all of the above then there has to be a position in energy policy for fossil based fuels including coal which is the largest, most reliable and most readily available source in America," says Heitkamp.

The bill would boost the current tax credit for capturing carbon from coal-fired plants and then selling it for enhanced oil and gas recovery.The bill was met with support from several North Dakota based coal companies like Minnkota Power, Basin Electric and the Lignite Energy Council.

"There's many challenges that are facing the coal industry at this point," says Heitkamp. "And what we need is recognition of those problems and a path forward. A plan to address those problems and this bill is one of those steps in the right direction. And we are very appreciative of that."

"It gives us the ability to go into a room and say here is our solution. Here is our approach. We are for this, and I really like that feeling. I think the industry likes that feeling of being able to say let us negotiate," says Heitkamp. "Let's see if we can do something here about this big gap between rhetoric of the technology and the actuality of the technology. This bill will help bridge the gap if you will."

Heitkamp says it is necessary to develop carbon capture technology, and keep coal in America's energy future.

"For us not to provide certainty today in the rules and a commitment to the development of the technology I think means on the horizon. We will make decisions that will dramatically and inappropriately affect our energy mix in the United States."

Senator Heitkamp's bill isn't the only coal based bill in Congress. Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia proposed a bill in February that would require congress to approve any EPA proposed rule on existing coal fired power plants. It passed the House on a 229-183 vote earlier this month.

 

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