Bechtel Corporation is Virginia-based multinational corporation that works in many sectors such as transportation infrastructure, mining, oil and gas, and other energy sectors.
Bechtel is proposing to develop the Renovo Energy Center natural gas-fired power plant in Renovo Borough, Clinton County, just north of Erie Avenue. Natural gas-fired power plants are large industrial facilities that generate electricity by burning natural gas.
No Commitment to Local Hiring
While a Bechtel-commissioned report claims that the project would support up to several hundred short-term jobs, the company has not committed to hiring local residents to fill these positions and the report projects it would employ 25 to 35 people once the plant is constructed. The report states that the jobs at the power plant “may lead to a small number of local support jobs; however, the relatively small number of permanent positions is not expected to cause significant commercial or industrial growth in Renovo or its surrounding communities.”
The site is considered a Federal Qualified Opportunity Zone (QOZ), which allows Bechtel, a Virginia-based multinational engineering corporation, to defer or not pay federal taxes on capital gains at the Renovo plant.
Federal Qualified Opportunity Zone (Clinton County)
Federal Qualified Opportunity Zone (FIPS 42035030100, Census Tract ID 301.00). Clinton County, PA. Image taken from Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development PA Federal Opportunity Zones ARCGIS Map.
According to the IRS, a QOZ is a federal tax incentive provided to investors or those with capital gains to spur economic development and job creation in distressed communities. This means that any corporation or individual with capital gains can qualify for this tax cut. Anyone can receive these tax incentives - even if a person doesn’t live, work, or have an existing business in a QOZ. The only requirement is to invest the amount of a recognized eligible capital gain in a Qualified Opportunity Fund and elect to defer the tax on that gain. An Opportunity Fund, is a fund created to invest in a QOZ property - an eligible business or property that is located in a QOZ.
The QOZ program provides three different tax benefits for investing in Opportunity Zones.
1. Temporary deferral of taxes on previously earned capital gains.
This means that a person or business can place existing assets with accumulated capital gains into “Opportunity Funds.” Those existing capital gains are not taxed until the end of 2026.
2. Basis step-up of previously earned capital gains invested.
This means that if a person or business holds assets within an “Opportunity Fund” for 5 years, only 90% of the original gain is taxed (10% exclusion or “discount”). And likewise for 7 years, only 85% is subject to tax (15% exclusion).
3. Permanent exclusion of taxable income on new gains.
This means that for investments held for at least 10 years, investors pay NO taxes on any capital gains produced through their investment in “Opportunity Funds.”
The Panda Hummel Station generates electricity from natural gas on the Susquehanna River in Shamokin Dam. Photo by Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program
Stonewall Energy Center
Stonewall Generating Facility is a 778-megwatt natural gas-fired, combined cycle power plant located in Northern Virginia. It was listed as being in high priority violation of the Clean Air Act from December 2018 to September 2020.
The Panda Stonewall Energy Station Center. Image captured from Google Maps 2021.
Oak Creek Power Plant Expansion
Oak Creek power plant contains two 615-megawatt coal-fired steam-turbine generating units and has Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act violations.
Oak Creek Power Plant Expansion. Photo by Johnyfixedgear (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).
More facilities will be added soon....