Senate committee advances bill advancing technology to capture, utilize carbon emissions
Legislation that would advance the development of carbon capture technology and promote coordination among federal, state and private entities on carbon capture, utilization and sequestration (CCUS) facilities and carbon dioxide pipelines cleared a crucial committee vote on Wednesday.
The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee approved the Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies (USE IT) Act with bipartisan support. The Clean Air Act would be amended under the bill to allow the EPA to use its existing authorities to support carbon utilization and direct air capture research.
The measure would also clarify that CCUS facilities and carbon dioxide pipelines are eligible for expedited permitting review. Additionally, the Council on Environmental Quality would be directed to finalize guidance to aid developers and operators of CCUS facilities and carbon dioxide pipelines.
The USE IT Act was introduced by U.S. Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY), the chairman of the committee, and U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), the ranking member of the committee. Its passage has been lauded as the committee’s most meaningful steps to support carbon capture and utilization technologies.
“Wyoming’s abundant natural resources like coal, oil and natural gas provide jobs and keep America on the path to energy dominance,” Barrasso said. “The USE IT Act will encourage the long-term use of American-made energy and support research examining how we transform emissions into valuable products. The legislation promotes the use of carbon capture technology, and innovative research — like what is already happening at the Integrated Test Center, outside Gillette. I am thankful to the members of the committee for supporting the USE IT Act and will continue to work with them to send it to the president’s desk.”
Carper said the science on climate change is “clear and nearly unanimous,” and the United States just “dramatically cut our output of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses” to prevent catastrophic changes to the environment.
“That is why for over a decade, I have supported, and even led, efforts to spur the development of carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration technologies,” Carper said. “Since introduction, the chairman and the bill’s cosponsors have made significant changes to the underlying bill to address my initial concerns with the legislation. I believe with the changes made today, if passed, this legislation can support the development and deployment of new carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration technologies while maintaining environmental and health protections. While this bill isn’t perfect, it reflects a compromise solution that will move us forward in addressing climate change.”
U.S. Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) were among the bill’s cosponsors. Catching carbon pollution before it reaches the air, Whitehouse said, can be part of a solution to the climate change crisis.
“Building on the bipartisan cooperation behind the carbon capture and utilization tax credit, this bill can help get carbon removal projects rolling,” Whitehouse said. “It signals to utilities that we mean business and points the way for companies in Rhode Island and across the country finding innovative uses for carbon dioxide.”
Capito said the United States must pursue an “all-of-the-above energy strategy” to reach its full energy potential.
“Building on the success of the bipartisan FUTURE Act, this legislation will provide new incentives for the deployment of carbon capture technologies and eliminate obstacles for those trying to reduce emissions,” she said.
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