State of play: Bloomberg reports that the emerging House-Senate tax compromise excludes House provisions that would have cut the value of wind energy tax credits and killed consumer credits for buying electric vehicle purchases.
- The provision to kill the $7,500 EV tax credit had drawn pushback from powerful automakers and other interests.
Thought bubble: Cutting the wind credit, meanwhile, was always going to be a heavy lift, given the influence of GOP lawmkers from states where wind is an important industry.
- Simply put, geography still matters a lot in energy policy fights, even in a hyper-partisan era.
Yes, but: The Bloomberg report notes that another consequential energy question remains unresolved.
- The renewables industry is freaked out about Senate language — called the "Base Erosion Anti-Abuse Tax" (BEAT) — that's designed to prevent companies from avoiding tax liabilities by shifting payments.
- Green energy groups say it would have the spillover effect of freezing up tax equity markets for wind and solar projects (the law firm McDermott Will & Emery has a short primer on it here).
- GOP Sen. John Thune tells Bloomberg that lawmakers are trying to address the issue to ensure renewables projects aren't harmed.
* * *
Speaking of the tax bill, a reminder that it includes provisions to open the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. Advocates of drilling there are on the cusp of succeeding after a decades-long push.
Yes, but: The bill is a major victory for pro-drilling interests and a massive setback for environmentalists who have long fought to keep ANWR off-limits.
- But don't look for the ANWR fight to end anytime soon — it's just going to move to other venues. Leasing and development plans are certain to face litigation.