House Dems float proposals for energy reform

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, August 5, 2013

Several House Democrats yesterday introduced legislation outlining ideas for energy tax reform, including ending tax incentives for oil companies and providing breaks for certain clean energy technologies.

Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.) introduced the oil bill, H.R. 2956, which he said would raise about $2.4 billion per year. The bill would eliminate a variety of tax breaks — such as the intangible drilling costs deduction and section 199 domestic manufacturing deduction — for the five largest oil companies. It emerged from a competition he held among constituents to suggest ways to save the government money.

“This bill is a common sense solution to cut wasteful spending and reduce our nation’s deficit while evening the playing field for other energy sectors, including renewable energy,” Murphy said in a statement.

Separately, Rep. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) introduced two bills to provide new tax incentives to support combined heat and power systems and the generation of electricity from waste heat, H.R. 2971 and H.R. 2972, respectively.

Both technologies seek to fully utilize excess heat generated by power plants or other industrial activities to avoid wasting energy. Tonko’s bills would make them eligible for the existing investment tax credits, which covers up to 30 percent of the costs for qualified facilities. Both bills were introduced in identical form in the previous Congress.

The bills come as tax reform continues to be a topic of discussion on Capitol Hill that is expected to gain more attention in the fall. Republicans have shown little enthusiasm for paring back the benefits oil and gas companies derive from the tax code, and it remains to be seen how additional clean energy support would fare.

“It is Congressman Tonko’s hope that these bills are included in the conversation when we begin to discuss how best to revise our tax code,” spokesman Sean Magers said in an email today.