Senator Heidi Heitkamp United States Senator for North Dakota

Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and John Barrasso (R-WY) today announced that the FUTURE Act, their bipartisan bill to encourage technological innovation in carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) while also reducing carbon emissions, passed Congress as part of the bipartisan budget deal and was signed in to law.  

Their bipartisan legislation supports maintaining a place in our energy mix for existing resources like coal and natural gas by encouraging development and use of 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 in July 2016. 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. Click here for a list of supporters, and click here for statements of support from the diverse group of stakeholders.

“Today’s bipartisan victory shows that Congress can achieve results by putting differences aside and working on real solutions,” Heitkamp said. “Particularly during these partisan times, I’m particularly proud to have been able to bring together such an extensive, diverse group of unlikely allies, including conservative and progressive lawmakers as well as coal companies, environmental groups, and labor organizations, around our bill. Our bill proves that if members of Congress really want to find solutions, it’s possible to work across the aisle to get results – and that’s what I try to do every day in the U.S. Senate. With 70 percent of North Dakota’s electricity derived from coal, it’s clear that we need to forge a viable path forward for coal to meet our energy needs and continue to support jobs and the economy in our state, while reducing emissions. After successfully fighting to lift the ban on exporting U.S. oil and extending important wind and solar tax credits in 2015, this carbon capture legislation is the latest bipartisan win for a true all-of-the-above U.S. energy strategy.”

Click here for a timeline of Heitkamp’s extensive work to forge a viable path forward for coal.

“The United States can and should be a leader in developing and exporting carbon capture systems, and extending and improving the 45Q tax credit will help us get there,” Capito said. “Not only will this policy help drive economic growth domestically and reduce future emissions abroad, but it will also help our country fully embrace the kind of all-of-the-above energy strategy we need to reach our full potential. I’m proud to have led this effort alongside Senator Heitkamp, and I am excited for the economic and environmental benefits it will encourage.”

“This is a big win for our climate and the promising new carbon capture and utilization technologies looking to gain a foothold in the market,” Whitehouse said. “This bipartisan bill will help to clear a path for businesses in Rhode Island and around the country that turn carbon pollution into something useful.  And it takes a key step forward in combatting climate change by putting a dollar value on reducing carbon pollution.  I’m proud to have joined Senators Heitkamp, Barrasso, and Capito to find common ground.”

 “In Wyoming and across the country, carbon capture technologies and other clean energy sources grow our economy and create jobs,” Barrasso said. “This tax benefit for carbon capture innovators will help spur advancements in the coal industry and lead to the development of other technologies that transform carbon emissions into a useful product. America is a global leader of carbon capture. An increase and extension of this tax credit will help keep it that way.”

The FUTURE Act extends and expands 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 CO2and 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).

Background:

Heitkamp’s work to find a realistic path forward for coal builds on her more than a decade of experience on the board of directors of Dakota Gasification, the one-of-a-kind synfuels plant in Beulah, N.D. During her service as North Dakota’s Tax Commissioner, on the North Dakota Industrial Commission, and as the state’s Attorney General, Heitkamp was able to work on viable solutions to make sure coal remains a strong part of the North Dakota’s energy mix. Click here for a timeline of Heitkamp’s extensive work to forge a viable path forward for coal.

Since joining the Senate, Heitkamp has worked to finding a realistic path for clean coal by:

  • Bringing together Democrats to urge strong CCUS funding, as president’s budget proposed cuts: Last June, Heitkamp led a diverse group of 15 Democratic senators—including liberal and conservative lawmakers—in urging congressional appropriators to fund strong U.S. Department of Energy investments in carbon, capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies, which are key to coal’s future. The president’s budget threatened to cut funding for the U.S. Energy Department Office of Fossil Energy by 55 percent, including funding cuts of at least 84 percent to CCUS programs. Such cuts would significantly hinder the advancement of CCUS technologies, which North Dakota’s rural electric co-ops, coal workers, and ratepayers rely on to support a path forward for coal-fired power through clean coal research and development.
  • Introducing major legislation in 2013 and 2015 to put coal on a viable path forward: Heitkamp’s bill would incentivize companies to invest in technologies that reduce the carbon footprint of coal-fired power. This is done through federal funding programs, federal support for private investment, and recommendations to Congress that provide insight on how best to support future CCS projects in the U.S. In May 2015, Heitkamp and U.S. Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia introduced a series of bills to make sure coal remains part of America’s energy mix, incorporating Heitkamp’s bill.
  • Convening industry, lawmakers, and academics to discuss path forward on coal: Heitkamp co-hosted a Coal Technology Symposium on Capitol Hill in 2014 that brought together industry, lawmakers, experts and academics – including the Energy and Environmental Research Center from Grand Forks. To a crowded room, Heitkamp laid out the importance of advancing realistic energy policies and discussed the vital role coal plays in providing affordable energy in North Dakota and around the country.

 

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Contact Senator Heitkamp's press office at press@heitkamp.senate.gov