Click here to watch Dr. Northam’s testimony.  

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), introduced Mark Northam, executive director at the University of Wyoming’s School of Energy Resources, to the committee. Northam was testifying before the committee at a legislative hearing on S. 2602, the Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies Act (USE IT) Act.

The USE IT Act is sponsored by Barrasso, with multiple bipartisan cosponsors. 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.

“I am pleased to introduce Dr. Mark Northam, who serves as the director of the University of Wyoming’s School of Energy Resources,” said Barrasso.

“Prior to his service at the university, he had extensive research experience in the private sector.

“He worked as a research science consultant in the areas of carbon management and technical intelligence at the research and development eenter at Saudi Aramco.

“Dr. Northam also worked at Mobil and ExxonMobil for over 20 years. There he held a variety of research, operations, and management positions. Dr. Northam, thank you for your willingness to testify today.”

In his written testimony, Northam discussed how the USE IT Act will help promote Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) technologies.

Title I of the USE IT Act directs the Environmental Protection Agency administrator to support CCUS research and development. Northam expressed strong support of this provision. “Not only do [the provisions] create another source of critically needed federal funding for CCUS-related research and technologies, but also they potential[ly] apply to a broad swath of potential CCUS technologies,” said Northam.

Northam also applauded Title II of the bill, which directs the chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality to work with federal agencies to prepare guidance to facilitate reviews associated with the deployment of CCUS projects and carbon dioxide pipelines. The chairman is also to identify new ways of converting captured carbon into commercial products.

“In addition to financial challenges, CCUS projects face unfortunate headwinds caused by well-intended, but nonetheless, arguably, counterproductive federal policies. These policies include time-consuming reviews under NEPA, which is a specific challenge for states such as Wyoming that have significant areas of federal lands,” Northam noted. “The ongoing federal role in supporting CCUS research at institutions of higher education is imperative.”

For more information on Northam’s testimony, click here.

Chairman Barrasso welcomed Dr. Northam to the committee. 

Background Information:

The USE IT Act is sponsored by EPW Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY), and Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND).

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead supports the legislation. In a letter, Mead wrote: “The bill is a logical next step and will lead to projects being developed and allow continued use of abundant resources while lowering the nation’s carbon footprint.”