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Blog posts : "taxes"

Energy Update, March 9, 2012

March 9, 2012

In the States

NM – Governor Susana Martinez has signed a bill into law that will streamline the permitting process for companies seeking to develop geothermal energy.  Under the new law, geothermal developers are able to bypass the process of obtaining additional permits from the State in certain cases, though there are also protections for groundwater and the holders of water rights.  Governor Martinez said that she hopes the bill will increase the production of renewable energy in New Mexico.  N.M. streamlines geothermal permittingAlbuquerque Journal

OH – Governor John Kasich has proposed raising taxes on oil and natural gas liquids to potentially collect over $1 billion in additional revenue for the State by 2016.  The additional revenues would be used to lower taxes on individuals and small businesses.  If the proposal is approved, it would change the current rate structure of 20 cents per barrel of oil and no tax on natural gas liquids to 1.5 percent of market value for oil and natural gas liquids, which would be raised to four percent by 2014.  The current rate of three cents per 1,000 cubic feet would remain for natural gas, unless it is extracted through hydraulic fracturing, which would trigger a one percent tax.  The proposed increased rates are still lower than those of larger oil-producing states such as Texas, and would apply only to new horizontal-drilling sites and, in the case of natural gas, sites that produce over 10,000 cubic feet of natural gas per day.  Governor Kasich is expected to revisit his already-announced budget to include the new taxes, as well as regulations on hydraulic fracturing.  Kasich said to plan raising Ohio drilling tax as high as 4%Bloomberg and Kasich to propose fee on frackingToledo Blade

WA – Governor Christine Gregoire has signed a bill into law that broadens the type of energy production facilities that are considered to be renewable energy under a voter-approved initiative that requires 15 percent of the State’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020.  The new law allows biomass energy production facilities older than 13 years old to count toward the requirement.  While opposition from environmental groups stalled the bill this year and kept it from passing last year, opposition was dropped when the definitions of renewable energy were more narrowly defined.  Washington state plan expands renewable energy lawNews Tribune

National News

Two separate bills are making their way through the House and Senate that would extend highway and transit funding beyond its current March 31 deadline, and Senators and Congressman are currently debating what will be included in the version from each chamber.  Senate Republican amendments were voted down this week that would have bypassed the Obama Administration in the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline permitting process, required changes in new pollution regulations on industrial boilers, and encourage offshore oil drilling.  That two-year, $109 billion transportation bill without those amendments is opposed by House Speaker John Boehner, who is currently gathering support for the House’s own five-year, $260 billion proposal.  The House bill includes many of the provisions struck down in the Senate, but has stalled mainly due to the large price tag.  Speaker Boehner warned Republican House members this week that if the House does not pass the measure, they will need to take up the Senate’s bill, pass a short term extension, or risk shutting down the transportation projects funded by the government and losing many jobs.  Senate rejects GOP proposals that would overturn Obama environment, energy policiesWashington Post and House speaker gives Republicans highway ultimatumReuters and Boehner’s highway bill plea to GOP doesn’t deliverPolitico

The U.S. Department of Energy is soliciting proposals from companies that wish to bid for a newly-announced six-year $180 million demonstration project to develop offshore wind power.  Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the new program, saying that the initiative was designed to “catalyze the development of offshore wind in America” and help developers “design and demonstrate next generation wind energy technologies.”  Of the funds, $20 million will be available to up to four companies in 2012, with the rest becoming available over the next five years.  DOE launches 6-year, 180m offshore wind development initiativeCleanTechnica and Offshore wind gets $180 million boost from DOE (press release)Energy Department

Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has released a long-awaited proposal for a federal clean energy standard.  The proposed legislation would require that 84 percent of the nation’s electricity produced by large utilities would be required to come from wind, solar, nuclear, natural gas, or coal with carbon capture and sequestration by 2035.  Senator Bingaman acknowledged the challenges the bill will face in the current Congress, saying, “Getting substantive legislation through both houses of Congress to the president’s signature is very difficult in this Congress.”  While the White House expressed support for the measure, which resembles the president’s proposals in the two most recent State of the Union addresses, opponents say that the bill would raise energy costs.  Senator Bingaman says that a U.S. Energy Information Administration analysis shows that the standards would have little or no impact on the economy.  Bingaman launches uphill battle with ‘clean’ power proposalThe Hill

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Energy Update, February 24, 2012

February 24, 2012

In the States

IL – Governor Pat Quinn said in his budget address that he would like to close a tax loophole that allows companies to avoid paying taxes on profits earned from selling oil and gas in Illinois that is extracted offshore in the Gulf of Mexico.  Illinois’ current corporate tax law specifically excludes “exploration for or exploitation of natural resources” from anywhere outside the 50 states and the District of Columbia.  Governor Quinn has stated that the loophole costs the State $75 million per year, though the oil industry disagrees with that estimate.  The Governor raised this issue in 2009, but the State’s law was not changed; it still faces opposition today.  Quinn wants to eliminate tax loophole that helps oil companiesChicago Tribune

PA – Governor Tom Corbett has signed three energy-related bills into law.  One would give counties the option of imposing an “impact fee” on wells producing natural gas from the Marcellus Shale.  While the new law ensures that Pennsylvania is no longer the only natural gas-producing State without a tax on its production, the effective rate, if imposed by the county at all, would be far lower than any other State.  Sixty percent of the revenues from the fees would go to participating local governments, while another portion would be used to purchase natural gas-powered vehicles for the State fleet.  The other two laws signed by the Governor would allow utilities to raise rates to recover the costs of improvements prior to completion and provides tax incentives intended to help attract a new petrochemical refinery to western Pennsylvania that could create thousands of jobs and millions in new revenue to the State.  Corbett signs 3 key energy-sector billsScranton Times-Tribune

National News

President Barack Obama has released his annual budget request to Congress, which calls for $27.2 billion in funding for the Energy Department, a 3.2 percent increase.  The President’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2013 would increase spending for energy efficiency, safety, conservation, renewable energy, and nuclear power, and would offset much of that expansion by ending $4 billion in tax breaks to oil and gas companies.  Specifically, the budget would increase funding for a grant program to states for pipeline safety by 50 percent and the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration by 44 percent.  The Office of Nuclear Energy would receive a total of $770 million, part of which would be used to research small modular nuclear reactors and nuclear waste research.  Clean energy funding would increase by $580 million, or about 13 percent, and would include programs to make solar power more cost-competitive and research geothermal and offshore wind energy.  Another research initiative, the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Efficiency (ARPA-E), would receive a 37 percent increase, bringing its funding up to $350 million.  Funding for fossil fuels would increase as well, and would include research on methods of hydraulic fracturing that would be less harmful to the environment.  A program to invest in energy efficiency in the Department of Defense would more than double, from $400 million to $1 billion.  An agency-by-agency guide to Obama’s proposed budget for fiscal 2013Washington Post and Obama seeks clean energy, pipeline funds in budgetMSNBC

 

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