WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), Committee Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-DE), and Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and John Kennedy (R-LA) announced a historic, bipartisan agreement to include multiple pieces of environmental innovation legislation in the omnibus.
The omnibus will now include:
- The Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies (USE IT) Act to promote carbon capture technologies;
- The reauthorization of the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) program; and
- The American Manufacturing and Innovation (AIM) Act, which would implement a 15-year phasedown of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) at a national level for the first time, administered by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
“Republicans and Democrats are working together to protect the environment through innovation,” said Barrasso. “This historic agreement includes three separate pieces of legislation that will significantly reduce greenhouse gasses. The USE IT Act is a bipartisan bill to promote carbon capture technologies that take carbon out of the air and find marketable uses for it. This type of research and development is already taking place in Wyoming at the Integrated Test Center. Carbon capture technologies hold the key to major emissions reductions. Similarly, the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act has significantly reduced the amount of black carbon in our air. Reauthorizing this important program will lead to significantly more reductions. Finally, HFC chemicals are in every home – from our cars, to our air conditioners. The emissions from the use of these chemicals contribute to climate change. This agreement will authorize a 15-year phasedown of their use, while safeguarding consumers and American manufacturers. All three of these measures will protect our air while keeping costs down for the American people. I want to thank Ranking Member Carper and Senators Capito, Whitehouse, and Kennedy for working with me to secure this historic agreement.”
“The buses that take our kids to school. The air conditioners that keep our homes cool. The refrigerators that keep our groceries safe to eat. For millions of people across the country, these are just small parts of our everyday lives, but they also represent big threats to the health of our communities and our planet. Old, dirty diesel engines pollute the air we breathe and damage our climate with deadly black carbon. Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used in air conditioning and refrigeration warm our climate more than thousands of times more than carbon dioxide. Fortunately, there are solutions to these problems that will clean our air, protect and create American jobs, and help to save our planet from the climate crisis,” said Carper. “Make no mistake, the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act, the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act and the Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies Act will soon be some of the most significant climate solutions to pass out of Congress to date. These bills will help to improve air quality and tackle the climate crisis while creating thousands of new jobs and keeping our economy moving. I thank my colleagues, especially Chairman Barrasso, Senator Kennedy – co-author of the AIM Act – and Senator Inhofe – co-author of DERA – for their work over the years to secure these important victories for our planet. Now, let’s look to the future. Let’s build on this progress.”
“Mitigating both air pollution and climate change has been and remains a top priority of the EPW Committee,” said Capito. “I’m glad to see this government funding agreement include several pieces of legislation I co-sponsored, including the Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies (USE IT) Act and Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA), that will help us accomplish this goal in a responsible way. This agreement to include these pieces of environmental legislation demonstrates that we are making significant progress to address this issue in a bipartisan, commonsense way. DERA will help West Virginia communities update ageing school and municipal buses for cleaner, modern vehicles, while the USE IT Act will facilitate carbon dioxide pipelines to provide the backbone infrastructure needed to grow CCUS and a carbon economy, reducing carbon emissions into the atmosphere. Both pieces of legislation are major wins for air quality and climate, and I was proud to play a role in each.”
“This agreement means real, bipartisan progress for our climate,” said Whitehouse. “By joining the international community in tackling HFCs—one of the more potent greenhouse gases out there—we are making a meaningful cut in global warming, perhaps avoiding up to 0.5°C of warming by the end of the century. Through our USE IT Act, we are boosting efforts to remove carbon pollution from the atmosphere and put it to good use. And by reauthorizing the DERA program at the EPA, we’re reducing dangerous tailpipe emissions. We need to pass a serious and comprehensive climate bill, but these bipartisan wins represent important progress. I’m proud to have worked with Chairman Barrasso, Ranking Member Carper, and other members from both sides of the aisle to get this done.”
“More than ever, foreign competition demands we protect American jobs by keeping the U.S. competitive in global industry,” said Kennedy. “Investing in next-generation refrigerants will create thousands of jobs, save billions of dollars and safeguard the environment, all of which matter deeply to Louisianians. I’m grateful to have worked with Chairman Barrasso and Sen. Carper to champion the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act and bring American production into the future.”
The USE IT Act supports carbon utilization and direct air capture research. This type of research is already taking place at research facilities like the Integrated Test Center outside of Gillette, Wyoming. The bill also supports federal, state, and non-governmental collaboration in the construction and development of carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS) facilities and carbon dioxide (CO2) pipelines. The USE IT Act was introduced by Barrasso, Carper, Capito, Whitehouse and several other senators.
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.
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 phasedown 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 essential uses of HFCs.
USE IT Act:
On July 23, 2020, the Senate passed the USE IT Act as part of the FY 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
On June 27, 2019, the USE IT Act passed the Senate as part of the 2019 NDAA.
On April 10, 2019, the EPW Committee unanimously passed the USE IT Act at an EPW Committee business meeting.
On February 27, 2019, the EPW Committee held a legislative hearing on S. 383. All three witnesses testified in support of the bill: Paul Sukut, General Manager & CEO, Basin Electric Power Cooperative; Steve Oldham, CEO, Carbon Engineering; and Kurt Waltzer, Managing Director, Clean Air Task Force.
On February 7, 2019, Barrasso joined with Whitehouse and Carper to reintroduce the USE IT Act. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Tina Smith (D-MN), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Mike Enzi (R-WV) also joined as original cosponsors.
The USE IT Act was first introduced during the 115th Congress. The EPW Committee also advanced the legislation unanimously in 2018.
On July 23, 2020, the Senate passed S. 747, the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) of 2019 as part of the FY 2021 NDAA.
On April 10, 2019, the EPW Committee unanimously passed DERA at an EPW Committee business meeting.
On March 13, 2019, the EPW Committee held a legislative “Hearing to Examine S. __, Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) of 2019.”
On September 10, 2020 Barrasso, Kennedy, and Carper announced an agreement to update the AIM Act amendment to the American Energy Innovation Act.
On March 25, 2020, the EPW Committee began an information-gathering process to hear feedback from different stakeholders on the AIM Act.
On March 5, 2020, Kennedy and Carper offered the AIM Act as an amendment to the American Energy Innovation Act.
On November 1, 2019, Carper and Kennedy introduced the American Manufacturing and Innovation (AIM) Act.