Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer launched a push to extend and expand a clean energy tax credit that is critical to Corning Inc.'s ability to locate their planned heavy-duty diesel manufacturing plant in New York's Southern Tier. Specifically, Schumer's proposal would change Section 48C of the IRS tax code to apply to projects that reduce emissions of air pollutants, particularly black carbon, from diesel-powered vehicles.
Corning, which makes products to reduce diesel vehicle air pollutants, is expected to expand even further in the next several years as countries around the globe toughen emission standards. In order to meet this demand, Corning is considering building a new manufacturing plant that could host several hundred workers. As the demand for Corning's products is expected to grow in European and Asian markets, the company is considering locating a plant in Corning.
In an effort to incentivize Corning to choose New York for that site, Senator Schumer launched his push to allow Corning to utilize this clean energy tax credit for the expansion. Black carbon is a significant global warming agent and in the U.S. is emitted primarily from diesel-powered engines. Schumer, with Corning's support and appreciation, is pushing for this sensible reform that would ensure the company's new property -- designed to reduce black carbon emissions -- is eligible.
"When companies like Corning develop advanced clean energy technologies that set them up for expansion and success, it is critical that they are rewarded and incentivized to stay in the United States and create jobs," said Schumer. "Unfortunately some foreign countries, like China, make doing business in their domestic market difficult and also offer unfair incentives to draw companies like Corning overseas. The expansion of Section 48C will help demonstrate that the federal government can offer the support that Corning needs right here at home. Corning's expansion into a new facility is expected to create hundreds of jobs and would be a boon for the Southern Tier, and I'm launching this push to encourage Corning to invest in New York and our incredibly talented and capable workforce."
"We appreciate Senator Schumer's strong leadership and tireless efforts to get the tax credit enacted this year," said Wendell P. Weeks, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Corning Incorporated. "This is yet another example of the outstanding work he is doing in Washington to support economic development in Upstate New York."
Corning's expansion plans hinge on increasing demand for the company's diesel particulate filters and other diesel products. Countries around the globe, particularly those in Asia, are tightening emissions standards and as a result, demand for these types of products is increasing. As China's rapid economic growth continues, firms throughout that nation are expected to purchase large numbers of particulate filters and other emissions reduction components. Locating its planned expansion in the United States is an option that Corning has under serious consideration, but there are serious cost advantages to locating in China, and Schumer's push to reinstate and amend the expired IRC Section 48C could help equalize costs.
The Section 48C program is intended to encourage investments in manufacturing facilities for the production of clean-energy technologies. Specifically, it provides a 30 percent tax credit to support investments in a wide variety of clean-energy products, such as renewable energy equipment and grids, electric and hybrid vehicles and their components, and carbon dioxide capture and sequestration systems. The 48C program is currently capped at $2.3 billion in tax credits and was oversubscribed by a ratio of more than three to one. As a result, an additional allocation of credits must be authorized to extend the program. Schumer, along with Senator Debbie Stabenow, the author of the credit in the Senate, is pushing for an additional $5 billion allocation of tax credits under the program.
Schumer highlighted that his plan to expand this tax credit for projects that reduce emissions of black carbon would encourage U.S. manufacturing of environmentally friendly technology and create jobs. Corning's technology removes diesel air pollutants, which have serious adverse effects on global warming and human health. Schumer highlighted that this important reform, which is supported by the administration, would help encourage the placement of this facility, and others like it, in the United States and will result in approximately 250 construction jobs, followed by 200 to 250 permanent jobs in New York. What's more, the products from this facility will reduce millions of tons of pollutants and should be made in the United States, according to Schumer.
Corning's work, Schumer noted, would provide massive benefit to the environment and human health. Black carbon is a particulate matter resulting from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and biomass. By intercepting and absorbing sunlight, black carbon particles have a strong warming effect in the atmosphere, accelerate the pace of melting in the polar regions, and influence cloud formation. Black carbon particles are also known to have a negative impact on human health. An important aspect of black carbon particles is that their lifetime in the atmosphere is short -- days to weeks.