"The Giving Season May Be Over — But Not For Coal And Fossil Fuels"

RFF report on refined coal subsidies is featured in a Forbes article on fossil fuel subsidies.

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Jan. 6, 2020

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Media Highlight



The RFF report "How Clean is 'Refined Coal'? An Empirical Assessment of a Billion-Dollar Tax Credit" on refined coal subsidies was featured in a Forbes article on fossil fuel subsidies. Listed below is a quote from the article:

“The giving season is over for most Americans. And some Democratic senators think it must also end for coal: They want a congressional watchdog agency to look into whether a $1 billion subsidy to chemically-cleanse coal is paying off. 

The purpose of the investigation is to determine if this cleansing process works — or whether the whole procedure is a boondoggle. Research shows that it is the latter, with the results either proving that the technique either does nothing to reduce SO2, NOx and mercury in coal or the benefits are so negligible that it hardly justifies the costs. 

US Senators Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island asked the General Accountability Office in late December to check out the tax credits given to refined coal because they are concerned that the process is a sham — a story that Reuters broke. A few months earlier, Resources For the Future, RFF, concluded the credits were not achieving their desired result. 

'(I)n practice, plants achieve negligible reductions in SO2 emissions rates, and the reductions in NOx and mercury emissions rates amount to approximately half of the reductions required, and these reductions only arise when plants have certain emissions controls installed,' the think tank wrote. 'RFF researchers found no evidence that any individual plant is achieving the reduction targets required by the statute, and significant evidence that on average they are not.'"

Read the full article here.

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