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coal power plant

The Sherburne County (Sherco) Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant owned by Xcel Energy, in Becker, Minnesota. (Photo: Tony Webster/Flickr/cc)

Sunrise Movement Blasts 'Criminal' Effort by Corporate Dems to Slash Carbon Capture Threshold

"This is essentially a government handout of up to tens of billions of dollars to the fossil fuel industry."

Brett Wilkins

As Senate Democrats continue to negotiate pared-back climate provisions in the Build Back Better reconciliation package in a bid to win the support of right-wing Democratic senators, activists from the youth-led Sunrise Movement on Friday warned against easing the bill's proposed carbon capture threshold.

"Power plants that disproportionately harm Black, brown, and working-class neighborhoods already get billions in tax credits, with little to show for it."

"It's criminal that the Senate wants to scrap the carbon capture threshold so dirty power plant operators can get even more tax credits and incentives," Sunrise Movement campaign director Deirdre Shelly said in a statement.

"Power plants that disproportionately harm Black, brown, and working-class neighborhoods already get billions in tax credits, with little to show for it," she continued. "This is essentially a government handout of up to tens of billions of dollars to the fossil fuel industry."

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)—whose personal and family wealth derive largely from coal—is Senate Democrats' 50th and potentially decisive vote on the pending Build Back Better bill, a $1.75 trillion version of which was approved by the House last month. Manchin has been the leading force pushing his Democratic colleagues to weaken climate action in the reconciliation bill.

In addition to seeking a lower carbon capture threshold, Manchin is also opposed a plan to fine fossil fuel polluters for excess emissions of methane—a greenhouse gas that is up to 87 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period.

Accoring to E&E News:

Manchin, who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said yesterday that Democrats had "made some good adjustments" to the policy in response to his concerns about overlap between the [proposed methane] fee and the Biden administration's newly proposed methane regulations.

"Meanwhile, our communities are drowning from historic floods, kids are in constant peril of climate disasters, and our families are slowly dying from the toxic pollution coming from these very same corporations," said Shelly. 

She added that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) "can't let fossil fuel corporations hijack Build Back Better, and must do everything in his power to protect or strengthen the 75% capture rate for carbon, and stand up to Joe Manchin and corporate Democrats who are trying to make fossil fuel corporations richer at the expense of communities on the frontline of the climate crisis."

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