Fossil Fuels: Tax credit could help coal-fired plants

Regardless of what you may hear from leftist members of Congress who believe they have a magic wand they can wave over America and — poof! — do away with fossil fuels, the nation will need coal, petroleum and natural gas for many years to come. There simply is no reliable, affordable alternative for many fuel needs.

Finding more environmentally friendly ways to use fossil fuels needs to be the real “green new deal,” then. For now, anyway.

U.S. Reps. David McKinley, R-W.Va., and Collin Peterson, D-Minn., understand the necessity of making that happen. They have introduced a bill, HR 1796, to make use of carbon capture technology more attractive to industries, including electric utilities.

HR 1796 focuses on an existing tax credit meant to encourage use of carbon capture technology. But, as so often is the case, requirements for obtaining the credit are unnecessarily and unrealistically stringent — so much so that nearly $2 billion worth of the tax incentives have not been used.

Making the program more attractive actually could save some existing coal-fired power plants. In the process, it would help perfect technology that could lead to a true clean-coal future.

Fortunately, McKinley has assembled a bipartisan coalition to push for HR 1796. Its co-sponsors include four Republicans and two Democrats.

HR 1796 should be enacted as swiftly as possible. It is both environmentally friendly and, in contrast to the energy proposals of some radicals, realistic for Americans.