Barrasso, Whitehouse, Capito, and Heitkamp Introduce USE IT Act to Incentivize Carbon Capture Development and Deployment. 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), joined with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) to introduce the Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies (USE IT) Act. The legislation is cosponsored by Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND).

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.

“Wyoming is blessed with an abundance of coal, natural gas, and oil resources that fuel the state’s economy and provide Americans with affordable and reliable power,” said Barrasso. “The bipartisan USE IT Act will promote the long term use of these critical natural resources and keep America on the path to energy dominance. My legislation will make Washington a helpful partner to efforts taking place in Wyoming to develop carbon capture technologies, convert carbon into a useful product, and reduce emissions.”

“After passing bipartisan legislation to encourage investing in carbon capture and utilization, we have a chance to advance these technologies even further. This bipartisan bill will help innovators around the country, including a growing number of businesses in Rhode Island, to come up with new ways to take carbon pollution out of the air and either stow it permanently underground or turn it into usable products. That’s a win for our climate, a win for innovative bioalgae and other utilization companies in Rhode Island, and a win for the economy overall,” said Whitehouse.

“For America to reach its full energy potential, we need to continue pursuing a true all-of-the-above energy strategy—utilizing the many natural resources available to us while also working to develop new and innovative ways to use our energy resources,” Capito said. “This bipartisan legislation will build on the success of our bipartisan FUTURE Act and provide additional incentives for the deployment of carbon capture technologies. It will also help us ensure there are no unnecessary obstacles for those trying to reduce their emissions and find innovative ways to use—rather than waste—carbon.”

“Carbon capture technology is essential in a carbon-constrained world, especially for states like North Dakota which will rely on a diverse energy mix that includes coal well into the future,” said Heitkamp. “After passage of the FUTURE Act to expand tax credits that will spur innovation and implementation of carbon capture systems and encourage further utilization, our bipartisan USE IT Act will take the next logical step in furthering CCUS in this country. This bipartisan bill – led by the same four senators who drove the drafting and passage of the FUTURE Act – will promote efficient and effective regulations for expediting CO2 pipeline permitting, require ongoing work on overall guidance for the development and use of CCUS technologies and pipelines, and direct EPA to support CCUS research. This is just good policy and will further enhance our efforts to provide a path forward for coal-fired power in North Dakota while reducing emissions, and for increased CCUS development across the board.”  

The USE IT Act would:

  • Narrowly amend the Clean Air Act to direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use its existing authority to support carbon utilization and direct air capture research;
  • Clarify that CCUS projects and CO2 pipelines are eligible for the permitting review process established by the FAST Act;
  • Direct the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to establish guidance to assist project developers and operators of CCUS facilities and CO2 pipelines;
  • Establish task forces to hear input from affected stakeholders for updating and improving guidance over time; and
  • Build on the FUTURE Act, bipartisan legislation – now signed into law – introduced by Heitkamp, Capito, Whitehouse, and Barasso to extend and expand the 45Q tax credit to provide certainty to utilities and other industrial sources and incentivize the build-out of CCUS projects.

Read the text of the USE IT Act here.

Background Information:

On November 15, 2017, Kipp Coddington, director of the Carbon Management Institute at the School of Energy Resources at the University of Wyoming (UW), testified before the EPW committee at a hearing on “Promoting American Leadership in Reducing Air Emissions Through Innovation.” Coddington outlined the numerous ways UW is examining to reduce carbon emissions through innovative technologies.

On September 13, 2017, Matt Fry, policy advisor to Wyoming Governor Matt Mead, testified at an EPW Committee hearing on “Expanding and Accelerating the Deployment and Use of Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration (CCUS).” Fry told the committee about Wyoming’s efforts to facilitate development of a CO2 pipeline network.

On July 25, 2017, Jason Begger, executive director of the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority testified at an EPW Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee hearing on “Developing and Deploying Advanced Clean Energy Technologies.” Begger detailed how Wyoming is an emerging leader in CCUS development and how public-private partnerships help incentivize the development of carbon capture technologies.