Lawmakers send Wolf large package of energy tax credits

HARRISBURG (AP) — State lawmakers have voted for an array of tax credits, including a massive incentive designed to help Pennsylvania land one of the hydrogen energy hubs being funded with federal subsidies.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s spokeswoman said Thursday that he was reviewing the legislation that passed shortly before the General Assembly adjourned late Wednesday until after the Nov. 8 election.

The package of tax credits, being called the Pennsylvania Economic Development for a Growing Economy program, would provide $50 million annually for an entity that gets approved for a regional hydrogen hub, $30 million annually to help produce fertilizer and petrochemicals using natural gas, $20 million annually to boost biomedical and semiconductor production and $15 million annually toward milk processing.

The House vote was 139-59, with opponents making up an unusual pairing of some of the chamber’s more conservative Republicans and its more liberal Democrats. The Senate vote was 41-8, with gubernatorial candidate Sen. Doug Mastriano of Franklin County one of just three GOP votes against it.

The environmental group PennFuture said it was strongly opposed to what it described as $2 billion over the coming decades in new subsidies for fossil fuel interests.

The group’s chief executive, Patrick McDonnell, called the tax credits “a polluter’s dream come true.”

“The package does nothing to invest in proven and inexpensive clean energy technologies, nor is it a comprehensive economic strategy for the state. Rather, this is slapdash industrial policy at its worst that will perpetuate Pennsylvania’s addiction to fossil fuels,” McDonnell said in a statement.

The tax incentives are designed to help attract federal government funding to build capacity to process natural gas from the Marcellus shale formation into hydrogen that would be used in manufacturing and transportation.


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