Barrasso and Fry

Click here to watch Mr. Fry’s testimony.  

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), welcomed Matt Fry, policy advisor to Wyoming Governor Matt Mead, to the committee.

Fry was testifying before the committee at a hearing titled “Expanding and Accelerating the Deployment and Use of Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration (CCUS).” The hearing focused on ways to streamline the deployment and use of CCUS technologies.

Chairman Barrasso introduced Fry to the committee prior to his testimony. “Mr. Fry has a distinguished career in the natural resources field spanning approximately 20 years, including time in the private and public sectors. He served as a staff biologist at the Wyoming Game and Fish Department before assuming his current role in Governor Mead’s office as a policy advisor.

“Mr. Fry received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology, with a minor in Chemistry, and a Master’s in Natural Resource Law, from the University of Denver in the Sturm School of Law. A native of Staunton, Virginia, we are glad he has chosen to make Cheyenne his home.

“Mr. Fry’s work in Governor Mead’s office includes management of the Wyoming Pipeline Corridor Initiative. The initiative is a first-of-its-kind endeavor by a state to encourage and facilitate the development of a CO2 pipeline corridor. I commend Mr. Fry for his leadership on this initiative and look forward to his testimony,” said Barrasso

Fry Testifies

Mr. Fry testifies before the Senate EPW Committee. 

In his written testimony, Fry highlighted some of the roadblocks facing CCUS. “CCUS provides us with the opportunity to treat CO2 as a valuable commodity, rather than an end product with no value. However, there are substantial challenges associated with its implementation. These include rigorous and costly regulatory processes, lack of federal and state policies that incentivize CCUS, minimal financial certainty for prospective project developers, and a number of other factors,” said Mr. Fry.

Regulatory hurdles for a pipeline project, for example, with a mixture of federal and state lands and private property “may require upwards of 30 reviews, permits, and approvals from federal, state, and local authorities.” And that is just for a project that is contained in a single state. “If a proposed project were to cross multiple states, this number would increase accordingly,” said Fry.

Fry described how one of the most onerous regulatory processes comes from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). “NEPA analyses historically were completed in relatively short timeframes and at acceptable costs. Unfortunately, in recent years, they have evolved in such a way that they may now take upwards of a decade and tens of millions of dollars to complete,” said Fry.

To help eliminate burdensome hurdles, Fry recommended that NEPA be streamlined. “I suggest that we take a step back and look at the enabling legislation that created NEPA and return the process to its original intent. I do not believe that we need to reinvent the wheel, rather I think we just need to make it round again,” said Fry. “While this recommendation sounds simplistic, the reality is that it will require a significant paradigm shift as well as cultural changes. Reversing the inertia of NEPA’s current course will require significant leadership, and I submit that this committee is eminently qualified to undertake and accomplish this goal.”

One way to improve the NEPA process, Fry maintains, is through the Wyoming Pipeline Corridor Initiative (WPCI). “WPCI is a sound strategy to streamline the NEPA process for pipeline infrastructure, without compromising the integrity of the Act or its process. The WPCI is a component of Governor Mead’s energy strategy for the State of Wyoming and it is our goal to obtain federal authorization for an intrastate pipeline network” said Fry. The network would connect existing oil fields that can be used for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) with CO2. “The CO2 will be injected into existing, often ‘played-out’ oil fields, thereby increasing oil production beyond conventional recovery methods with little additional surface disturbance while ensuring safe and permanent geologic storage of CO2 in the process,” Fry detailed.

Fry listed numerous benefits of the WPCI. “Additional production of oil, gas, and liquids from EOR will generate significant royalties and taxes for federal, state, and local governments” and “the WPCI will provide a large number of jobs for those building, maintaining, and operating pipelines and EOR fields. These jobs would likely be in Wyoming communities which have recently experienced significant declines in energy-related employment,” said Fry

For more information on Mr. Fry’s testimony, click here.