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 titled, “Opportunities in Industrial Decarbonization: Delivering Benefits for the Economy and the Climate.”
Below is the opening statement of Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) as delivered.
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman…thank you for holding this hearing today to examine innovative bipartisan solutions to manage industrial greenhouse gas emissions.
“We have achieved the greatest successes as a Committee, including on climate, which we have worked on a bipartisan basis.
“The Committee’s surface transportation and water infrastructure legislation served as the backbone of the IIJA.
“The surface transportation portion of the IIJA included a first-of-a-kind subtitle devoted to climate change, featuring two new formula programs, one centered on carbon reduction and on resiliency.
“The IIJA served as a vehicle for many other provisions from other committees to address emissions, including industrial emissions.
“Chairman Carper and I managed that legislation across the floor and so we negotiated on these [provisions] as well.
“Particularly important to me…the legislation included the Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs (H2Hubs) program, administered by the DOE.
“One of the seven hubs the DOE recently selected is the Appalachian Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub, known as ARCH2.
“This hub includes the states of West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
“ARCH2 will produce both green hydrogen, which is hydrogen produced through the electrolysis of water, but also blue hydrogen, which is hydrogen produced from abundant Appalachian natural gas with carbon capture and storage technologies to reduce emissions.
“When up and running, ARCH2 will supply hydrogen to a broad mix of hard-to-decarbonize industries, from energy to transportation to chemical manufacturing to steel production.
“It is no secret that carbon capture, which will be a critical component of the ARCH2 hub, remains capital intensive and has yet to be commercially viable for deployment.
“Chairman Carper, I appreciate your years-long partnership with me in supporting carbon capture as a technology.
“This is why I have been a longtime supporter of 45Q to advance this technology that will be essential to preventing emissions, and through direct air capture, to reduce atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide.
“ARCH2 and all other future CCUS developments stand to benefit not only from 45Q, but also from prior bipartisan legislation out of this Committee, such as the USE IT Act, which Chairman Carper, and Senators Barrasso, Whitehouse and I led.
“Signed into law in 2020, the USE IT Act, when implemented as intended, would ensure all carbon capture projects at all types of facilities can be permitted in a timely fashion.
“I say ‘when implemented as intended’ because some of the administration’s recent actions, suggest they are not dutifully looking to expedite the permitting of these types of projects.
“For instance, for broad deployment of CCUS to become feasible, the EPA must approve Class VI injection well applications to securely store the carbon underground…
“In the IIJA, I supported the inclusion of $50 million for states to obtain primacy of this program, as well as $25 million for the EPA to process those permits at the federal level.
“The EPA needs the help because it has historically only approved two of these permits, and it took an average of six years each to do this.
“The IIJA was signed into law two years ago today…on November 15…and only last week did the EPA finally announce the funding for states to apply for primacy.
“In addition to delaying the application process for funding, the administration has also now loaded up the primacy application process with new ‘guidance’ and directions to address environmental justice that seems designed to slow projects down or suggest they are not safe.
“Meanwhile, the EPA has not permitted any of the 169 well applications that now pending.
“Instead of focusing on expediting permitting and environmental reviews, the President’s Council on Environmental Quality has focused on changing the rules of the road for the NEPA process.
“The administration’s recent proposal, instead of simplifying the environmental review and permitting process as Congress directed in the recent debt limit legislation, would add hurdles to those processes and expand the scope of reviews, opening projects up to increased delays and legal challenges.
“I do not want to suggest hydrogen and CCUS are our only tools for reducing industrial emissions, but I think we need to take [note] of the regulatory headwinds those are facing.
“I support other bipartisan solutions to reducing industrial emissions, such as utilizing advanced nuclear for industrial purposes.
“My bipartisan nuclear bill with the Chairman, the ADVANCE Act, includes a number of important policies to deploy advanced reactors to do just that.
“No matter how good the bipartisan solutions to address climate change are, our efforts will never be realized if the projects they support are never built due to permitting challenges and a slew of new EPA regulations.
“Regulations such as the forthcoming Particulate Matter 2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standards…NAAQS…that the administration is rumored to plan finalizing at a level that will plunge much of the country into nonattainment, requiring stricter permitting or offsets for new infrastructure or industrial facilities.
“Regulations such as the Clean Power Plan 2.0 that would undermine reliability and drive up the cost of power for manufacturing with its unachievable short-term targets.
“Antiquated regulations like New Source Review will stymie upgrades at existing power plants and manufacturing facilities.
“The list goes on and on.
“I urge my colleagues to continue to work with me on permitting reform and updating out-of-date environmental regulations, areas within this Committee’s jurisdiction, so we can ensure that emissions reducing technologies can actually get out of the market and make a difference.
“Thank you to our three witness who are here today and I look forward to our discussion and learning more about your efforts to reduce carbon emissions.”
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