Delaware Section 2013 Meeting with United States Senator Chris Coons
John Gavenonis, Delaware Section Councilor
Tiffany Hoerter, Delaware Section Chair
Members of the Delaware Section Government Affairs Commttee meet with U.S. Senator Chris Coons in Wilmington on May 31, 2013. Participants are (from left to right) Al Denio, Tiffany Hoerter, U.S. Senator Chris Coons, and John Gavenonis.
On Friday, May 31, as part of the ACS Contact Congress initiative, Al Denio, John Gavenonis, and Tiffany Hoerter of the Delaware Section Government Affairs Committee (GAC) met with United States Senator Chris Coons in his Wilmington office. The meeting was also attended by Andrew Dinsmore from the Senator's staff. The agenda was similar for the meeting with Senator Carper with a focus on predictable and sustained investments in key science engineering and technology agencies including the NSF, NIH, DOE-SC, NIST, DoEd, DOD and EPA, flexibility in the sequestration process, and investment in science research, which provides an important economic and societal return. In addition, the group asked Senator Coons his thoughts about the possibility of a renewed America COMPETES bill originating from the Senate.
In addition, the group spent some time discussing the Master Limited Partnerships Parity Act (S.795), which was introduced by Senator Coons on April 24, 2013. This bill is a modification of the federal tax code that could unleash significant private capital by helping additional energy-generation and renewable fuels companies form master limited partnerships, which combine the funding advantages of corporations and the tax advantages of partnerships. A master limited partnership is a business structure that is taxed as a partnership, but whose ownership interests are traded like corporate stock on a market. By statute, master limited partnerships have only been available to investors in energy portfolios for oil, natural gas, coal extraction, and pipeline projects. These projects get access to capital at a lower cost and are more liquid than traditional financing approaches to energy projects, making them highly effective at attracting private investment. Investors in renewable energy projects, however, have been explicitly prevented from forming master limited partnerships, starving a growing portion of America’s domestic energy sector of the capital it needs to build and grow. Senator Coons believes that this introduced legislation is a key component that will allow alternative and developing energy sources to compete effectively in the market with legacy energy sources. The bill was introduced with two Democratic sponsors (including Senator Coons as the lead sponsor) and two Republican sponsors. In November, two additional Senators (one Democrat and one Republican) agreed to support the bill. Nonetheless, no additional action was taken since the bill was referred to the committee in April. In addition, no further action was taken on a companion bill that was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX).
The Delaware Section Government Affairs Committee thanks Senator Coons, and his staff for taking the time to review policy items of interest to ACS.