Oil prices plunged this year amid both the coronavirus pandemic and a pumping war between Russia and Saudi Arabia, with energy-producing states including the United States suffering as a result.
However, that damage could be partly offset by gains in the carbon capture industry, which specializes in the disposal and storage of carbon dioxide, usually by depositing it deep underground — and according to the Washington Examiner, the Trump administration is now attempting to speed finalization and implementation of tax credits designed to help that sector grow.
Trump takes action on tax credits
Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso (R), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, announced on Wednesday that he and other Republicans had discussed the issue with the president, the Examiner reported.
Mike Danylak, who serves as spokesman for Sen. Barrasso, offered the Examiner an update on the status of those talks.
“Chairman Barrasso and Sen. [John] Hoeven encouraged President Trump to have the Department of Treasury complete its review of proposed rules for the 45Q carbon capture tax credit,” Danylak explained.
Danylak went on to reveal that “[t]he president directed his staff at the meeting to push for completion.
“Billions of dollars waiting”
That’s likely to come as welcome news to those in the carbon capture industry, as a lack of clear rules as well as a delay in finalizing new guidelines for tax credits have kept many companies from moving ahead with new projects.
Assistant Secretary of Energy for Fossil Fuels Steven Winberg made that point clear in January when he told the Washington Examiner, “There are billions of dollars waiting” to be unlocked within the industry.
“Let me repeat that: There are billions of dollars waiting,” Winberg added. “It has capital we need to get out into the marketplace.”
Bipartisan support emerges
Sens. Barrasso and Hoeven aren’t the only ones to express concern regarding the topic, and this isn’t just an issue of interest to Republicans, either.
The Washington Examiner also cited a letter from the bipartisan duo of North Dakota Republican Sen. Kevin Cramer and Rhode Island Democrat Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse that pointed out the need for a more relaxed approached tax rules given the fragility of current economic conditions.
“In light of the wide-ranging impacts COVID-19 continues to have on the American economy, combined with the over two-year delay in final 45Q [carbon capture tax credit] guidance, it makes sense to provide as much administrative flexibility as possible,” they argued in the letter.