House passes nuclear energy tax bill

House passes nuclear energy tax bill
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The House quickly passed a bill extending a nuclear energy tax credit on Tuesday. 

The bill, bipartisan legislation from Reps. Tom Rice (R-S.C.), Earl BlumenauerEarl BlumenauerDemocrat: Pelosi ‘ceded the moral high ground’ on sexual harassment Clyburn on disparity in responses to sexual allegations: ‘Who elected them?’ Third House Dem calls for Conyers to resign MORE (D-Ore.) and others, would increase the number of utilities that can qualify for the tax credit and remove construction deadlines for facilities that use it. 

The House passed the bill, which would cost $16 million over 10 years, on a voice vote.

The legislation lifts a requirement that nuclear facilities be placed into service by the end of 2020 in order to receive the 1.8-cent-per-kilowatt-hour tax credit. 

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It would also allow government-owned utilities and nonprofit electric co-ops to receive the credit and give them the power to transfer credits to other partners on the facilities, such as the projects' designers. 

The bill is especially important for the states of Georgia and South Carolina, the only two states where new nuclear power plants are under construction.

“Without this legislation, the nuclear power industry may cease to exist as we know it in this country, which is exactly why passing this bill now is more important than ever,” Rice said.

“We need to give these plants the certainty of these tax credits, just as Congress intended.”

Only one member spoke out against the bill on Tuesday. 

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) criticized the measure as a reward for the nuclear sector, which he said has a “record of miserable failures” when it comes to getting more reactor projects up and running. 

“Instead of today’s measure, our focus should be on safe, healthy forms of energy instead of an industry that costs too much and poses too much danger to humans,” he said. 

The nuclear energy sector supported the bill, with five industry groups telling lawmakers in a letter last week that the bill supports the “strategic national imperative” of supporting nuclear power projects.