WASHINGTON, D.C. — A bipartisan group of members of Congress and stakeholders have voiced support for the bipartisan environmental innovation agreement legislation included in the Continuing Resolution. The agreement was announced earlier today by Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY), Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-DE), and Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and John Kennedy (R-LA). The agreement includes the Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies (USE IT) Act, reauthorization of the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) program, and a 15-year phasedown of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) chemicals. 

What They Have Said about the USE IT Act:

“The United States has the opportunity to lead the way in the productive and beneficial utilization of captured CO2 and carbon monoxide as building blocks for producing low-carbon fuels, advanced materials, chemicals and other products that are critical to our nation’s defense industry and tour continued technological leadership. Funding in the USE IT Act will help lay the groundwork for development of new technologies, industries, jobs, and markets for captured carbon that expand beyond current use and geological storage of CO2 through enhanced oil recovery.” – 41 environmental, advocacy, labor, and industry organizations that make up the Carbon Capture Coalition in a letter calling for USE IT Act to be included in NDAA. 

“The USE IT Act… and represents an important step towards addressing those [national security risks associated with climate change] risks by incentivizing the development of carbon capture, utilization and sequestration (CCUS) and direct air capture (DAC) technologies, and the increased beneficial use of captured carbon.  It is imperative that you maintain the USE IT Act language contained in the Senate-passed bill in order to address not only immediate national security risks, but also the broader issues of energy security, economic vitality, environmental sustainability, and America’s leadership at the forefront of CCUS technologies.” – 40 Bipartisan Senators and Members of the House of Representatives in a letter calling for USE IT Act to be included in NDAA legislation. 

“The USE IT Act supports research on carbon capture utilization. I believe that transforming captured carbon emissions from a liability into a valuable commodity will be a powerful way to align our economic incentives with our environmental goals. Federal support for research on carbon utilization should focus on three areas: reducing technology costs and increasing the number of technology options; conducting lifecycle analysis to ensure that over time the focus is permanently storing more of the carbon; and identifying how to scale up these options to meet climate goals.” – Center for Climate and Energy Solutions President Bob Perciasepe 

“Individually, each one of these things is extremely noteworthy. Whether it’s the innovation bill or the HFC bill, those are generational pieces of legislation. Together, with USE IT and DERA, this is easily the biggest step Congress has ever taken to address climate change.” – Senior Vice President of Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute Christopher Guith 

“The Nature Conservancy supports the passage of the USE IT Act and its efforts to advance carbon capture. By investing in research and development for carbon capture, and assessing its benefits and risks, the USE IT Act will play a critical role in helping these technologies come to market in an effective and responsible way. We appreciate the bipartisan leadership on this issue in the Senate.” – The Nature Conservancy Director of Climate and Energy Policy Jason Albritton 

“There’s a lot more we can do beyond that [extending the 45Q tax credits for carbon capture technologies] but it was a heck of a start. It’s one of those things that shows you can use incentives and they work. We saw it on a number of issues in the energy space and this is no exception. Where incentivizing the technology has brought manufacturers out of the woodwork, ready to test some of this and actually put it into place. There’s plenty more we can do in this space, starting with enacting the USE IT Act.” – Ross Eisenberg, vice president for Energy and Resources Policy at the National Association of Manufacturers during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing (9/18/19)


What They Have Said about the HFCs Phasedown:

“This amendment would spur billions of dollars of economic growth in domestic manufacturing and create tens of thousands of new jobs, all while helping our planet avoid half a degree Celsius in global warming. At a time when we could all use some good news, this is great news for our economy and our planet. Let’s get it done.” – EPW Committee Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-DE)

“This amendment brings us one step closer to implementing an HFC phase-down and reaping the substantial economic benefits associated with this transition to new refrigerant technologies. This amendment will accomplish our industry's refrigerant objectives while protecting consumers and providing significant economic and environmental benefits, and we are very appreciative to this bipartisan group of Senate leaders for their assistance and foresight.” – Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute President and CEO Stephen Yurek 

“We are appreciative of the strong bipartisan support for this legislation, as it provides for clear development of a uniform, federally-based HFC phasedown in the United States that will also enhance continued American technology leadership in our country as well as around the globe.” – The Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy Executive Director Kevin Fay


What They Have Said about DERA:

“I am here today to voice strong support for reauthorization of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) program. Over the last 10 years, this funding has been key to incentivizing and expanding port environmental programs to improve air quality impacted by port operations. DERA has always enjoyed strong bipartisan support for its voluntary nature in partnering with local communities to reduce certain diesel emissions.” – American Association of Port Authorities President and CEO Kurt Nagle 

“As such, the DERA program is an amazing success – It provides seed money to clean up diesel exhaust using a wide range of verified technology without breaking the owner’s wallet; and it delivers up to a $21 return to society for every federal dollar invested. The federal government has invested an average of $40M per year in DERA in the last seven years. Obviously, this is a good, practical, and popular way for the federal government to invest in the health of the nation, and the program ought to be funded with an increase.” – Corning Incorporated Consultant Timothy Johnson 

“According to Department of Transportation (DOT) statistics, the school bus is the safest form of surface transportation today – bar none, including walking, biking, transit, driving in parent’s cars or teens driving themselves. Our commitment to safety and children’s health is not only focused on preventing accidents but also protecting the overall health of the kids on the bus or waiting for the bus at the bus stop or at school. That is why we have been an early, strong and consistent supporter of the DERA program.” – Chairman of Krapf Group Incorporated Dale Krapf

Background Information:

The USE IT Act would support carbon utilization and direct air capture research. The bill would also support federal, state, and non-governmental collaboration in the construction and development of carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS) facilities and carbon dioxide (CO2) pipelines. This collaboration will ensure that there is a clear regulatory framework to facilitate further development. 

The HFC provisions will authorize a 15-year phasedown of HFCs at a national level for the first time, administered by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The amendment requires EPA to implement an 85 percent phase down of the production and consumption of HFCs, so they reach approximately 15 percent of their 2011-2013 average annual levels by 2036. The legislative language matches the agreement reached earlier this year by Barrasso, Carper, and Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) that protected critical uses of HFCs.

The DERA program has reduced black carbon emissions by more than 11,000 tons and carbon dioxide by more than 5 million tons. The legislation will reauthorize this important program until 2024.