Murkowski Sees Wider Support for Clean Energy Tax Break

Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, the top Republican on the energy committee, said there’s bipartisan support for allowing renewable energy companies to tap a tax structure used by oil and natural gas companies.

Murkowski said Republicans and Democrats in both houses of the U.S. Congress support extending the master-limited partnership program to clean energy companies. She’s working on legislation that Delaware Senator Chris Coons intends to introduce this week.

The program allows companies to raise funds like a corporation and pay taxes as a partnership. In its current form, it gives favorable tax status for companies delivering fossil fuels. Speaking at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance conference in New York, Murkowski said she thought oil drillers support the plan.

“Many of these oil and gas companies have substantial interests in renewable energy, and the ones I’ve talked to don’t see it as competition,” Murkowski said today in an interview at the conference in New York. “There may be some conservatives that see renewables as ‘pie in the sky,’ but I haven’t seen any real opposition from the oil industry.”

In a speech to the conference, she said revamping the tax code is a “hugely important issue, especially when it comes to energy.”

“Our goal must be to provide certainty as far out as possible,” Murkowski said. “That doesn’t mean subsidies should continue to grow more expensive even as the costs of technologies fall, but, hopefully, we can provide at least a three-to-five year window where investments can be made without a material shift in policies,” she said in remarks prepared for the conference and released by her office in Washington.

She also said she’s promoting an “advanced energy trust fund” that would use a share of revenue from energy production on lands that are now off limits to fund energy research.

“It offers a chance to reduce our costly dependence on foreign oil, to keep energy affordable and abundant and to boost R&D without raising taxes or increasing the deficit.”

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