By Missoula Current
Montana’s pair of U.S. senators have introduced legislation to permanently extend the Indian Coal Production Tax Credit, and do so before the measure expires at the end of the year.
Introduced by Sens. Steve Daines and Jon Tester, and co-sponsored by Sens. John Barrasso, R-Wyoming, and Heidi Heitkamp, D-North Dakota, the measure has received strong support from tribal leadership.
“The credit helps level the playing field for Indian coal, and a permanent extension will allow our industry partners to make the large investments necessary for further development of our extensive Crow coal resources,” said Crow Tribal Chairman Alvin Not Afraid, Jr.
The Indian Coal Production Tax Credit was first included in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and was recently granted a two-year extension, which expired at the end of last year.
The tax credit was designed to incentivize investment on Indian lands and aid in the hiring of Indian people.
“The Crow Tribe in Montana has the potential to develop 10 billion tons of coal on their reservation,” Daines stated. “Indian coal production creates good-paying jobs in Indian Country, generates significant non-federal tax revenue to support essential services, and enables tribal self-determination.”
The credit also provides a tax incentive to level the playing field for future development of tribal coal resources. Supporters say those resources are subject to more regulatory requirements than comparable development on private, state or federal lands.
They also contend that the coal credit protects the economic viability of existing tribal coal mining projects that support tribal jobs and provide non-federal revenue for coal-producing tribes.
“The Indian Coal Production Tax Credit helps create good jobs and increases self-determination in Indian Country,” Tester said. “Incentivizing more responsible natural resource development on tribal lands will create high-paying jobs, strengthen tribal sovereignty and help produce more revenue for local schools, law enforcement, and infrastructure.”
Daines and Tester both supported legislation to make the Indian Coal Production Tax Credit permanent during the last Congress.