New Episode of Resources Radio on Refined Coal Subsidies, with RFF's Brian Prest


June 11, 2019

News Type

Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Resources for the Future (RFF) released a new installment of Resources Radio: “Refined Coal: The Billion-Dollar Subsidy You've Never Heard Of, with Brian Prest.”

Host Daniel Raimi interviews RFF Postdoctoral Fellow Brian Prest on his new paper about refined coal subsidies, coauthored with RFF Senior Fellow Alan Krupnick. Prest breaks down the specifics of this study and explains how plants that receive the refined coal tax credit are, on average, not meeting the required emissions reductions in the field. Prest also discusses the immediate policy relevance of this study.

Listen here.

Notable quotes from the podcast:

  • “The tax credit [for refined coal] doesn’t differentiate between whether you’re burning cheap coal or expensive coal. Either way, you get the $7 [a ton] tax credit. And so, as a share, or as a percentage of the coal costs, the tax credit is much larger for these plants burning low quality, cheap lignite coal.”—Brian Prest (6:52)
  • “The tax law requires 20 percent reductions on NOₓ [nitrogen oxides] and 40 percent reductions on . . . SO₂ [sulfur dioxide] or mercury. For SO₂, we’re finding essentially zero reductions in practice on average in the field. As for NOₓ and mercury, we're finding that the reductions on average in the field tend to be about half as large as required by the tax law.”—Brian Prest (9:30)
  • “Wow, so not a single [pollutant] that you’re able to get data for is actually hitting the specified targets.”—Daniel Raimi (12:52)
  • “This issue is actually particularly policy relevant right now . . . just last month, two bills were introduced in the Senate by, I believe six different senators, to reauthorize this tax credit. And so, there's very clearly ongoing and upcoming legislative activity on this tax credit.”—Brian Prest (19:02)

Resources Radio is a weekly podcast series exploring timely environmental, energy, and natural resources topics, and can be found on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and SoundCloud.

Resources for the Future (RFF) is an independent, nonprofit research institution in Washington, DC. Its mission is to improve environmental, energy, and natural resource decisions through impartial economic research and policy engagement. RFF is committed to being the most widely trusted source of research insights and policy solutions leading to a healthy environment and a thriving economy.

Unless otherwise stated, the views expressed here are those of the individual authors and may differ from those of other RFF experts, its officers, or its directors. RFF does not take positions on specific legislative proposals.

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