Wind Energy Tax Credit Included in Tax Extension Legislation
On Thursday August 2, the Senate Finance Committee approved the Family and Business Tax Cut Certainty Act of 2012, which will extend the number of tax breaks set to expire at the end of 2012. The Senate’s latest version includes a one-year extension of credits through 2013. The tax incentives are considered vital to financing new power projects in the wind industry. Extension of critical tax credits is expected to save 37,000 jobs in wind energy and continue to support growth in US manufacturing. The legislation will move to the Senate floor for further consideration.
Loan Guarantee Program May Be Coming to an End
On Wednesday August 2, the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed the No More Solyndras Act. The legislation, introduced last month, would phase out US Department of Energy’s loan-guarantee program by prohibiting new applications. The legislation was created in response to the approval by US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, allowing solar panel manufacturer Solyndra to repay private financers before taxpayers during bankruptcy. The drafted legislation is intended to limit the Administration’s ability to guarantee loans for renewable energy projects. The legislation now moves to the House for further consideration.
Oil Sand Imports Taxation
On Tuesday July 31, Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA) addressed Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner in a letter regarding the Internal Revenue Service’s(IRS) technical memorandum in 2011 which stated tar sand imports are not subject to the eight-cents-per-barrel petroleum excise tax, which goes toward a cleanup fund. The cleanup fund makes resources available for the response and cleanup of oil spills and pays claims to those who have incurred removal costs or suffered damages. The exemption transpired based on the legal definition which includes crude oil and petroleum products but does not include tar sand oil. Due to the definition, companies handling tar sand oil are exempt from the payment of excise tax on imported tar sand. The letter suggested the initiation of a new process to ensure the IRS’ position parallels with the law as it was written. The taxation process is expected to become relevant in the debate of the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline project.
House Emergency Drought Relief Effort
On Thursday August 2, the House passed an emergency drought relief bill titled the Agricultural Disaster Assistance Act of 2012. The bill is intended to provide drought relief to livestock producers since progress has not been made on the farm bill. The House Agriculture Committee approved a five year bill but has not been able to obtain sufficient support for bill advancement. Prior to recess, the Senate declined to take up the disaster relief aid bill until it is part of the overall federal farm bill. Failure to pass the farm bill by September 30 would eliminate the disaster aid and government safety aid the nation increasingly needs due to the drought.