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September 10, 2003
BAUCUS APPOINTED TO ENERGY CONFERENCE COMMITTEE
Senator At The Table Fighting For Reliable, Affordable Energy For Montana
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – As one of a select group of lawmakers picked to iron out differences between the House and Senate energy bills, Montana Senator Max Baucus today said he will use the post to help ensure Montana residents and businesses have access to reliable, affordable energy.
“It’s an honor to be selected for this committee,” Baucus said. “I’m glad I will have a seat at the table to help forge a common-sense energy bill that helps our businesses, creates jobs, and ensures our national energy system remains strong and dependable.
Baucus was appointed to the panel consisting of only 13 senators because he is the top Democrat on the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee, where he teamed up with committee chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) to pass an energy tax incentive plan.
The Baucus energy tax plan will provide incentives to increase domestic production of energy, promote conservation efforts, and boost alternative sources of energy like wind, solar, biomass and ethanol. These incentives are included in the Senate-passed energy bill.
“Now is the time to work together to reduce our reliance on foreign sources of energy,” Baucus said. “We’ve seen blackouts on the east coast and energy and gasoline prices have soared to record levels. That’s proof positive it’s time to find a long-term solution to our nation’s energy needs.”
Another Baucus priority is tax relief for farmer-owned refineries that are required to meet new EPA low-sulfur diesel standards.
“The provisions Max put in the bill to help cooperative refiners recover the cost of upgrades are essential to our business,” said Dan Knepper, a representative with Cenex Harvest States, which employs 957 people in Montana. “Max’s work on the Finance Committee is helping to keep the Laurel refinery economically healthy.”
Baucus’ Energy Tax Incentives Plan:
• Expands and extends tax incentives for renewable energy production, including the wind energy tax credit until 2007, and expanding tax credits to include solar, geothermal and biomass energy.
• Provides incentives for clean coal technologies.
• Helps rural electric cooperatives adjust to a restructured electricity environment.
• Provides incentives to promote new electricity generation on Indian reservations.
• Provides increased tax write-offs for building natural gas distribution lines.
• Provides an income tax credit and excise tax rate reduction for biodiesel fuel mixtures made from vegetable oil and animal fats.
• Enhances tax incentives for small ethanol producers, and provides incentives for use of alternative fuels and use of hybrid/alternative fuel vehicles
• Ensures fuel taxes are used for highway projects
• Provides a tax credit for production of super energy-efficient appliances, energy efficient homes and office buildings.
• Provides a tax credit for using agricultural products to produce energy.
• Provides multiple tax incentives to increase traditional oil and gas production.
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