June 29, 2018

Carbon Utilization & Biogas Legislation Clears Senate

Farm bill provisions championed by Bennet and Whitehouse would harness USDA programs to boost CCUS and biogas

Washington, DC – Important provisions of carbon utilization and biogas legislation introduced by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) passed the Senate today as part of the farm bill.  The provisions are based on parts of Bennet and Whitehouse’s Carbon Utilization Act.  The legislation would allow emerging carbon utilization technologies, such as carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS) and biogas production, to access U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) research, education, and rural development programs.  

“As we look to the future of clean energy, we must invest in innovative, secure, and low-carbon technologies—especially in rural communities,” Bennet said. “This effort will help create jobs, secure our electricity systems, and combat climate change. We must ensure that rural communities are included in the clean energy economy.”

“We know our fight against climate change ought to include converting carbon pollution into something useful.  We also need to fight methane pollution, which is another big climate concern.  That’s why helping farms and other rural businesses adopt promising new carbon capture and biogas technologies is a smart move,” said Whitehouse. “I’m glad Senator Bennet and I were able to get these provisions passed in the farm bill.  They will benefit everything from local algae in Rhode Island and soybean operations in the Midwest to our global climate.”

The Bennet-Whitehouse provisions would take a number of steps to help advance CCUS and biogas.  They would (1) require the Department of Energy to provide technical assistance to applicants to the USDA rural electrification loan program when establishing energy efficiency or renewable energy systems; (2) amend the definition of “biobased” products under the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act to promote research into carbon sequestration and utilization at the USDA; (3) direct the USDA to make competitive grants to nonprofits or colleges and universities for carbon utilization education; and (4) create an Interagency Biogas Opportunities Task Force to coordinate policies, programs, and research to accelerate biogas research and investment.


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Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921