Click here to watch Ranking Member Capito’s opening remarks from the committee hearing.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee held a hearing examining the development of projects and implementation of policies supporting Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) technologies.

Below is the opening statement of Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), as prepared for delivery.

“Thank you, Chairman Carper, and thank you for calling today’s hearing. I think it will be very interesting.

“This is a topic I am very passionate about, and I am glad our committee is holding a hearing on carbon capture, utilization, and storage—better known as CCUS.

“I also want to thank our witnesses for joining us today.

“Despite what some headlines suggest, climate change is an area where we have found bipartisan solutions.

“Over the last few years, the committee has developed bipartisan legislation that protects the interests and livelihoods of our constituents, no matter where they live or where they work.

“The EPW Committee has led the way in developing climate win after climate win.

“From the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act in 2018, to the USE IT Act and AIM Act in 2020, to the climate title of the surface transportation bill that was signed into law as part of Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) last year, we have performed well here at EPW.

“Both on legislation in our committee and outside our jurisdiction, I want to recognize the leadership of Chairman Carper and Senator Whitehouse in those achievements.

“When it comes to CCUS, we have secured passage of the FUTURE Act that significantly expanded the 45Q tax credit for CCUS, enacted the previously mentioned USE IT Act to require the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to expedite the permitting and development of projects, and enacted the SCALE Act to support the transportation of carbon dioxide through additional financing tools.

“These are all important pieces of legislation now signed into law that are helping enable a build-out of carbon capture technologies.

“Groups from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change at the U.N. to the U.S. Department of Energy have recognized that CCUS is an essential tool in reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

“CCUS and other technologies, like hydrogen and advanced nuclear, afford us an opportunity to leverage private sector innovation in the next phase of de-carbonization.

“Significant further reductions in emissions will come from private sector innovation, not top-down government mandates.

“The Biden administration’s support for CCUS is crucial to deploying these technologies.

“In particular, I am encouraged that this administration has been actively working to implement the USE IT Act.

“I commend CEQ for taking the recent step of issuing draft guidance, along with a report issued last year, but there is still so much more to do.

“I wrote a letter joined by several colleagues to Chair Brenda Mallory asking that any final guidance issued by CEQ be more explicit and detailed.

“While my staff has been informed the interim guidance will not be updated based on comments submitted, I urge CEQ to reconsider this decision.

“This CCUS guidance needs to provide direction to federal agencies that will actually expedite project delivery, which was the intent of Congress.

“I also understand CEQ is finally starting the process to convene the task forces that were established in this bipartisan bill. I urge CEQ to move quickly to get a range of perspectives on these task forces in order to provide needed feedback on challenges and successes faced by these projects and on ways to further improve the permitting process.

“In addition to the USE IT Act, I have been closely following the implementation of CCUS provisions in the IIJA.

“IIJA included the SCALE Act, a bill to support the buildout of infrastructure to transport carbon dioxide to locations where it can be used in manufacturing or stored safely and securely underground.

“Pipeline infrastructure is essential to decarbonizing industrial clusters all around this country, and moving the carbon to where it can be safely stored, or used in products.

“The infrastructure bill also included important funding for Class 6 wells, which is part of a program called the Underground Injection Control program at EPA.

“These wells are used to inject carbon dioxide into deep rock formations for permanent storage.

“The Class 6 permitting program can be administered by EPA or by a state once EPA has granted primacy to the state.

“Part of the IIJA funding for Class 6 wells was included to help the agency process applications from states for primacy, and enable states to administer their own programs.

“Right now, only two states have primacy for Class 6 carbon sequestration wells: North Dakota and Wyoming.

“Other states are following suit.

“Primacy is something that the state of West Virginia is working on, and something the state of Louisiana has been working on as well, and I look forward to hearing more about their experience.

“In many states across the country, CCUS is on the cusp of a revolutionary leap in deployment.

“However, I want to clarify that the progress we are beginning to see should not be the basis for regulations or mandates.

“Practically speaking, a heavy hand will stifle this nascent technology in the crib and prevent the emissions reductions we have already seen are possible when the American economic engine is brought to bear on a problem, even one as big as climate change.

“Requiring CCUS also would not be lawful under the Clean Air Act’s standard-setting provisions.

“I look forward to hearing from our panel about what specific actions are being taken, at the private, state government, and federal levels, to advance deployment of CCUS as well as what issues Congress should be focused on to reduce the challenges and maximize the opportunities of this exciting technology.

“Thank you Chairman Carper, and I look forward to the panel.” 

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