Sep 13 2017
Senator’s Bipartisan Bill would make sure North Dakota’s plentiful sources of energy like coal continue to be developed
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A bipartisan bill introduced by U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp to promote North Dakota’s coal industry and reduce carbon emissions was discussed favorably at a U.S. Senate hearing today on expanding and accelerating the deployment and use of carbon capture utilization and sequestration (CCUS) technology.
At the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) hearing, a bipartisan group of senators and outside experts discussed Heitkamp’s bill as a key way to incentivize build-out of carbon capture technologies. Heitkamp’s legislation, the FUTURE Act, would extend and expand the 45Q tax credit, which encourages the development and use of CCUS technologies and processes. The tax credit is also designed to spur the adoption of low-carbon technologies to transform carbon pollution into useable products.
Today’s EPW hearing comes one day before Heitkamp and many of the FUTURE Act cosponsors will discuss the legislation at a forum hosted by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. The forum will feature panels on corporate investment in carbon utilization and next-generation technologies in CCUS.
“There is momentum building in the bipartisan effort to reduce carbon emissions and promote domestic energy reserves like North Dakota’s coal,” Heitkamp said. “U.S. senators from both sides of the aisle, energy experts, and environmentalists agree that carbon capture technology is a necessary tool for reducing emissions and further developing low-carbon sources of energy like clean coal. Today’s hearing made clear that while this technology has promise, we must do more to encourage the technological advances and innovations necessary to jump-start the industry and support jobs, which is why we introduced the FUTURE Act.”
U.S. senators and outside experts weighed in on the FUTURE Act and the importance of CCUS technology at today’s hearing:
Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), EPW Committee Chairman: “Encouraging American innovation is the right approach to continuing American leadership in the development of technologies to lower the emissions associated with fossil fuel use. Through American leadership, we export our innovations around the world. My colleagues on both sides of the aisle recognize the role that CCUS can play in the future. This Congress, Senator Capito, Senator Whitehouse and I were original cosponsors of legislation introduced by Senator Heitkamp known as the FUTURE Act, or the Furthering Carbon Capture Utilization Technology Underground Storage and Reduced Emissions Act. The FUTURE Act extends and expands tax credits for facilities with CCUS technologies, and I’m proud to say the bill now has 24 bipartisan cosponsors.”
Julio Friedman, CEO of Carbon Wrangler, LLC, and former Obama administration official overseeing clean coal: “There’s two dimensions to this that I think are important. One of them is not just job creation – which is real – but job sustainment. This is particularly important to the unions, which are looking at a number of their jobs going away associated with the industry. But the other is actually because you are dealing with these large, centralized facilities, you don’t just create jobs or sustain jobs. You create and sustain communities. Whole communities that are at risk actually get sustained through CCUS.”
David Greeson, Vice President of Development at NRG Energy, Inc.: “I’d also like to thank the members of this Committee who are supporting the 45Q program improvements. We feel like this change to the program will help level the playing field between carbon capture and other low-carbon technologies such as wind and solar.”
Heitkamp and U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) first introduced the FUTURE Act in July 2016. Since then, they have worked with U.S. Senators Barrasso, Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), 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.