A bill that clarifies Nebraska ethanol plants could benefit from carbon tax breaks is now facing opposition from Bold Alliance.
The leading environmental group, which also includes Bold Nebraska, known for previously opposing the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline, has testified against the Legislative Bill 801, which will ensure tax breaks for carbon capture, storage and transportation.
Currently, there are two potential carbon pipeline projects set to run across Nebraska.
In both cases, the pipelines are intended to transport liquified CO2 captured from ethanol plants to underground storage sites.
Bold Alliance argues that providing tax breaks for such projects is unnecessary, due their riskiness and lack of state regulation.
An incident from two years ago was pointed to as an example of the dangers associated with CO2 pipelines.
A high-pressure pipeline carrying hydrogen sulfide and CO2 exploded in Sataria, Mississippi, poisoning residents and resulting in dozens of hospitalizations.
Furthermore, the group testified that tax incentives should be used as a means to attract new businesses to and create new jobs in Nebraska, as opposed to benefiting existing projects.
Another argument against the bill was the questionable viability of carbon pipelines as the world is transitioning away from gas-powered vehicles towards electric cars.
Those in favor of the tax breaks, on the other hand, make their case that tax incentives would help the local ethanol sector become ‘greener’, while also boosting sales to states with a higher demand for environmentally friendly fuels, such as Oregon and California.
The bill was introduced a year after Nebraska lawmakers passed a law allowing carbon storage sites to be located in the state.
And it seeks to clarify that ethanol plants that choose to build such facilities on their own property will be able to qualify for the tax breaks.