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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ind. Gov't. - "Tax breaks for Rockport gas plant stripped from bill in Indiana legislature"

Updating earlier ILB entries, Lesley Weidenbener reports this evening in the Evansville Courier & Press in a story that begins:

INDIANAPOLIS — Questions about a synthetic natural gas plant proposed for Southern Indiana led a House committee Wednesday to strip tax breaks for the $2.6 billion project from a bill that already has passed the Senate.

The Ways and Means Committee also eliminated language from Senate Bill 344 that would have taken industrial customers — those who use so much natural gas they strike their own purchasing contracts — out of the customer deal that led the General Assembly to OK the plant in 2007.

“I am still for the project,” said Rep. Suzanne Crouch, R-Evansville, who voted for the Indiana Gasification plant in 2007 and authored Wednesday’s amendments.

“But I believe the General Assembly has provided enough tools for the project,” Crouch said. “When is enough enough? When do we move from a public-private partnership to a publicly subsidized project?”

Others, though, expressed concern about whether the project should move forward at all. Rep. Win Moses, D-South Bend, said he initially supported the idea because it would convert Indiana coal to a cleaner fuel and because it seemed like it would save Hoosiers money.

Now, he said, the plant will not be required to use Indiana coal and the savings are unclear.

“I really hoped the governor would pull the plug,” Moses said.

The Ways and Means Committee voted 22-2 to remove the Indiana Gasification language from SB 344. * * *

Because SB 344 passed the Senate with the Indiana Gasification language in the bill, it remains alive for this session. That means it could still be amended into other legislation.

Ways and Means Chairman Jeff Espich, R-Uniondale, said the issue might not be dead but said it “needs to continue to be reviewed.”

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 22, 2012 08:23 PM
Posted to Indiana Government