Since the 1980s, U.S. oil and gas companies have benefited from a tax loophole big enough to build a pipeline through.
By organizing as a type of partnership instead of a corporation, companies that extract, process or transport “depletable” natural resources have been exempt from corporate income taxes.
That word — “depletable” — specifically excludes renewable energy, but a long-simmering effort to change that now appears to be gathering some steam in Washington.
U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat, introduced a bill last year that would give wind, solar and other renewable projects the same tax benefit that fossil fuels have enjoyed for decades.
The Master Limited Partnerships Parity Act has picked up bipartisan support, including Republicans from oil-rich states such as Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Ted Poe of Texas.
But the bill also finds itself going against broader political momentum in Congress to eliminate loopholes and exemptions in order to raise revenue and lower tax rates.