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A coal-fired plant in England that installed carbon capture technology. Photo: OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images

The budget bill Congress passed early Friday morning includes a narrow but important tax incentive that would support technology capturing carbon emissions from coal plants and other facilities.

Why it matters: It helps make the economic case for this type of technology, which established science says is essential in cutting greenhouse gas emissions to the level scientists say we must, but is currently too expensive in most instances. It’s also seen as key for coal’s long-term viability in a world combating climate change.

Gritty details: The tax credit, which Congress first created in 2008, is expanded and extended for 12 years in the current budget bill, which experts say would increase the chances of more deployment across a range of innovative but costly technologies in this space. The bill's diverse backers could tout different benefits — climate change or coal's future.

The intrigue: As chief sponsor, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat from North Dakota, has been building an unusually broad coalition of support for the measure that began a couple of years ago (and far earlier for broader efforts on carbon capture). The measure’s sponsors include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican from Kentucky, and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat from Rhode Island. Heitkamp also gathered diverse stakeholder support, ranging from environmental groups to coal companies.

In short, Heitkamp’s efforts represent a bipartisan exception to the partisan rule on one of the most partisan topics: energy and climate change.

Yes, but: Absent policy monetizing carbon emissions more broadly, this tax incentive is unlikely to prompt a huge wave of new projects.

Go deeper on my past Axios stories about carbon capture:

Go deeper

Texas AG sues Biden administration over deportation freeze

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks to members of the media in 2016. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing the Biden administration in federal district court over its 100-day freeze on deporting unauthorized immigrants, and he's asking for a temporary restraining order.

Between the lines: The freeze went into effect Friday, temporarily halting most immigration enforcement in the U.S. In the lawsuit, Paxton claims the move "violates the U.S. Constitution, federal immigration and administrative law, and a contractual agreement between Texas" and the Department of Homeland Security.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Podcasts

Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck

President Biden has said that getting Americans vaccinated for COVID-19 is his administration’s top priority given an initial rollout plagued by organizational, logistical and technical glitches.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the bottlenecks and how to unclog them with Carbon Health chief executive Eren Bali, whose company recently began helping to manage vaccinations in Los Angeles.

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