CULM is not “biomass” for tax purposes, a federal district court in Pennsylvania said in late January.

CULM is not “biomass” for tax purposes, a federal district court in Pennsylvania said in late January.

February 01, 2002

CULM is not “biomass” for tax purposes, a federal district court in Pennsylvania said in late January.

Culm is dirt, wood, rock and other debris from underground coal mining in the anthracite region of eastern Pennsylvania. Similar debris from bituminous mines is called “gob.”

The US government offered an energy tax credit until 1987 as an inducement to power companies to build new power plants that use biomass for fuel. The owners of at least one power plant in Pennsylvania that uses culm claimed energy tax credits after an IRS official, who has since retired, said the agency had tentatively concluded that culm could qualify as biomass, at least in cases where the culm bank had been remined to remove anything that could be sold as coal. The IRS and a federal district court denied the credits. The taxpayers are deciding whether to appeal.

Keith Martin