Click here to watch Chairman Barrasso’s remarks.  

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), delivered the following remarks at a committee “Hearing to Examine S. 383, the Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies Act, and the State of Current Technologies that Reduce, Capture, and Use Carbon Dioxide.”

The hearing featured testimony from Paul Sukut, general manager and CEO of Basin Electric Power Cooperative; Steve Oldham, CEO of Carbon Engineering; and Kurt Waltzer, managing director of Clean Air Task Force.

For more information on witness testimony click here.

Senator Barrasso’s remarks:

“Today, we are here to discuss the Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies Act, or simply, the USE IT Act.

“The USE IT Act would encourage the commercial use of man-made carbon dioxide emissions.

“The bill supports the use of carbon capture technology, including direct air capture.

“The legislation also expedites permitting for carbon dioxide pipelines in order to move the carbon dioxide from where it is captured to where it is stored or used.

“For those of you who are not familiar with the USE IT Act, it is practical, commonsense piece of legislation to turn carbon dioxide emissions into valuable products.

“We can use carbon dioxide to extract oil from wells that wouldn’t otherwise be profitable through a process called enhanced oil recovery.

“We can capture carbon dioxide and use it to make building materials and carbon fiber.

“Captured carbon can even be used for medical purposes.

“Today, we will hear testimony about other new and exciting developments in the area of carbon capture technologies.

“When I introduced the USE IT Act last year, we had a group of four Senators in support including members of the committee, Senator Whitehouse and Senator Capito.

“I’d like to introduce into the record an article published in the National Journal last week, titled, ‘The Senate’s Quiet Climate-Policy Dealmaker.’

“This article praises Whitehouse for ‘finding incremental successes working with Republican colleagues.’

“The praise is well-deserved.

“This Congress, I thank Senator Whitehouse and Senator Capito for their continued partnership as we work to get the USE IT Act to the President’s desk.

“Support for the USE IT Act has now grown from an initial bipartisan group of four Senators to a larger group of tweleve Senators, including seven of my colleagues on this Committee.

“Along with Senators Whitehouse and Capito, I am pleased this Congress to have Ranking Member Carper, Senator Cramer, Senator Duckworth, Senator Rounds, and Senator Inhofe as cosponsors of the USE IT Act.

“In addition, a bipartisan companion bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives.

“When we had a hearing on the USE IT Act last year, we heard testimony about the many ways carbon dioxide can be transformed from a useless byproduct into a valuable, commercial good.

“Interest in the USE IT Act has continued to grow since last year.

“This is in large part due to the bipartisan success we had with the FUTURE Act, which was signed into law a year ago.

“Senators Whitehouse, Capito, and I led that legislative effort as well.

“The FUTURE Act extended and expanded the tax credit for using and storing carbon dioxide.

“The Clean Air Task Force called the FUTURE Act ‘one of the most important bills for reducing global warming pollution in the last two decades.’

“The extension and expansion of the so-called 45Q tax credit through the FUTURE Act has expanded public interest about how we capture and use carbon dioxide.

“This Congress, I have continued to focus on ways to expedite and expand the use of carbon capture.

“That begins with the USE IT Act.

“Last Congress, we unanimously reported the legislation out of Committee by voice vote.

“This Congress we want it signed into law.

“America should reduce emissions through innovation, not punishing government regulations.

“The USE IT Act advances that goal.

“This is also the approach we took with the bipartisan Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act.

“The bill will make sure America remains a leader of nuclear energy innovation.

“Nuclear power creates jobs and is critical if we are going to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions.

“President Trump signed the legislation into law earlier this year.

“Passage of the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act was an important step forward. 

“I look forward to continuing to work the members of this committee, on both sides of the aisle, to make additional progress in promoting nuclear energy technology, including exploring solutions to the nuclear waste disposal issue.

“This committee has – and should continue to lead – on bipartisan, on commonsense solutions.

“Such solutions do not include in my opinion the Green New Deal which is unworkable and, according to Doug Holtz-Eakin, the former director of the Congressional Budget Office, would cost between $51 and $93 trillion.

“My ideas do include the USE-IT.

“As Axios recently reported, ‘Although [the USE IT Act] is not as high-profile or sweeping as the Green New Deal resolution, also unveiled [on the same day], the bill takes a more direct, concrete aim at the root of climate change: emissions themselves.’

“When we work together, we have shown we can promote American leadership, grow our economy, and lower our emissions.”