Dems introduce bill to help ‘clean coal’

A pair of moderate Democratic senators introduced a bill Thursday that would increase federal support for “clean coal” technology.

Sens. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampThe Hill's 12:30 Report Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Senate panel moves forward with bill to roll back Dodd-Frank MORE (D-N.D.) and Tim KaineTimothy Michael KaineDemocrats turn on Al Franken Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Senate panel moves forward with bill to roll back Dodd-Frank MORE (D-Va.) said their legislation is meant to provide a viable path forward for coal-fired electricity as the country moves to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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“Talking about adhering to an all-of-the-above energy strategy in America is easy — and there’s a lot of talk — but actually seeking a true strategy that includes using all of our energy resources to secure a safe, economically strong future for our children is another story,” Heitkamp said in a statement.

“My common-sense legislation would help make that possible by providing a sustainable path forward for coal — an energy industry that already supports high-paying jobs across the country and reduces our dependence on foreign oil,” she said.

Heitkamp’s bill would provide new incentives for carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology, which has yet to be developed on a large scale for coal plants.

It would direct more funds at the Energy Department toward carbon capture, provide variable price support for companies that capture the carbon and increase tax credits, among other actions.

“This bill represents the large-scale [research and development] investment we need in cleaner coal technologies,” said Kaine.

“If American innovators can successfully deploy these technologies, we can not only reduce the carbon intensity of our fossil fuels but also bolster our manufacturing exports to developing economies like China and India that need to reduce their carbon emissions while providing energy for growing populations.”

The Coal Utilization Research Council, an industry group that pushes for more research funding for coal, applauded the legislation.

“Sen. Heitkamp has long recognized the robust history of technical innovation and improvement and the strong domestic engineering capability in the U.S. that has been the foundation for developing better and better technology to support use of coal,” the group said.

North Dakota ranks No. 9 in the country in terms of coal production, and Virginia ranks No. 15.

Heitkamp introduced the same bill last year, but it did not move forward.