September 14, 2017

Whitehouse, Heitkamp, Capito, Barrasso Make Bipartisan Push for Carbon Capture Technology during Symposium in Washington

Bipartisan Coalition’s Bill has Strong, Broad Support from Republican and Democratic Senators, Coal Companies, Environmental Groups, Labor Organizations

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and John Barrasso (R-WY) today participated in a forum where they discussed strong, bipartisan legislation they introduced to encourage technological innovation in carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) while also reducing carbon emissions and recognizing the need for a more diverse energy mix around the world for years to come.

The forum, hosted by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, featured panels on corporate investment in carbon utilization and next-generation technologies in CCUS. The senators also talked about the need for more federal investment and support to spur growth in the development and use of these technologies.

Their bipartisan legislation would support maintaining a place in our energy mix for existing resources like coal and natural gas by encouraging development and use of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies and processes—while also spurring adoption of low-carbon technologies to transform carbon pollution into useable products. Heitkamp and Whitehouse first introduced the bill last July. Since then, they have worked with Capito and Barrasso, and others, to build out bipartisan support among more progressive Democratic senators and more conservative Republican senators. A wide cross-section of coal companies, utilities, environmental groups, and labor organizations also support the bill, reinforcing a willingness from all sides to come together and seek bipartisan solutions.

The bill was discussed on Wednesday at a U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works hearing on carbon capture technology, and today Congressman K. Michael Conaway (R-TX) and a bipartisan group of 29 U.S. Representatives introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Capturing carbon and putting it to good use ought to be part of our strategy to fight climate change.  That’s why I’ve joined a bipartisan group of Senators on legislation to help promising new carbon capture and utilization technologies gain a foothold in the market. Our bill would put a price on carbon pollution and pay facilities for every ton of emissions they keep out of the atmosphere.  It would also clear a path for businesses in Rhode Island and around the country that turn carbon pollution into useful products. Thank you to everyone who took part in today’s event for showing the promise of transforming carbon emissions from pollution into something useful,” said Whitehouse. 

“With innovative thinking and bipartisan good will, we can tackle our energy and environmental challenges head on,” Heitkamp said. “This bill is about bringing those who don’t always agree together toward a common goal. It’s for that reason that our strong, bipartisan legislation brings an ideologically diverse coalition together around the often divisive issue of carbon by encouraging innovation in the energy sector, which is critical to North Dakota jobs, our nation’s energy security, and reducing emissions. Our nation needs a strong, affordable, and diverse energy mix, and that includes coal. By working together, Congress can reach results, and the continued momentum for our commonsense bill reinforces that.”

“America has an opportunity to be a leader when it comes to developing and exporting carbon capture systems, and we need to seize it,” Capito said. “The FUTURE Act can help us drive economic growth—particularly in the manufacturing sector—and would mark an important step in preventing future emissions abroad. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and this diverse coalition to make sure this important bipartisan legislation is enacted into law.”

“Senators on both sides of the aisle recognize the role that carbon capture utilization and sequestration will play in the future,” said Barrasso. “We need to encourage its use and remove obstacles to its development. Fostering American innovation is the right approach to ensure we remain a leader in developing new and clean energy technologies. The bipartisan FUTURE Act extends and expands needed tax credits for facilities that use these important technologies.”

The senators’ bipartisan bill would extend and expand the 45Q tax credit to provide certainty to utilities and other industrial sources, and would incentivize the build-out of industrial carbon capture projects that plan to use CO2 and CO for enhanced oil recovery and carbon utilization—the conversion of carbon dioxide into useable products. The 45Q provision is an integral part of the tax code for incentivizing carbon capture. Carbon capture cannot take off on a large scale unless there is federal support to encourage investment and implementation of the technology through tax credits and other mechanisms, which this bill would provide. The bill would also provide a crucial lifeline to coal miners by providing a pathway to maintain coal as a part of our diverse energy mix, doing so in a cleaner way, and reinforcing bipartisan support for standing up for these workers and their communities.

In addition to extending 45Q, the bill strengthens support for carbon capture technologies by increasing the “commence construction” window for carbon capture projects from five to seven years and by increasing the number of years to claim the credits from 10 to 12 years.

Cosponsors of the bill include U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Chris Coons (D-DE), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Al Franken (D-MN), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Gary Peters (D-MI), Rob Portman (R-OH), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Mark Warner (D-VA).


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