Barrasso: We Need Carbon Capture Innovation, Not Coal Elimination

November 2, 2023

Click here to watch Senator Barrasso’s opening remarks.


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR), delivered remarks at a full committee hearing to examine the opportunities and challenges in deploying carbon capture utilization and sequestration and direct air capture technologies on federal and non-federal lands.

The hearing featured testimony from the Honorable Brad J. Crabtree, Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy and Carbon Management at the U.S. Department of Energy; Mr. Bruno Pigott,

Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of Water at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Ms. Erin Burns, Executive Director at Carbon180; and Ms. Lily R. Barkau, P.G., Groundwater Section Manager, Water Quality Division at the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality.

For more information on witness testimony click here.

Senator Barrasso’s remarks: 

“Well thanks so much, Mr. Chairman.

“And before giving the opening statements, I wanted to address like you did, the news from this morning.

“Where just last week, the Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Elizabeth Klein, sat at this table, at that seat, and she told the committee all systems are go for lease sale 261.

“She went on to say we don’t see anything in the way of holding that sale.

“Well, she lied to the committee. Because today, this very morning, she postponed the sale indefinitely.

“This administration is becoming even more brazen in its disregard for the law of the land and for the members of this committee and it is shameful.

“So, Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you for holding today’s hearing very important hearing.

“President Biden has made it clear that he wants to eliminate the production and use of coal in the United States.

“Just last year, the President said quote: ‘We’re going to be shutting these [coal] plants down all across America and having wind and solar.’ end quote.

“Well, the Biden administration has followed through on this reckless promise.

“The Biden administration has blocked coal leasing on federal lands.

“It has slow-walked mining permits.

“It has proposed emissions regulations aimed at shuttering coal-fired power plants.

“It is attempting to kill coal by a thousand cuts.

“This is a recipe for disaster for our country and for our citizens.

“According to the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, coal will be an important part of our energy mix for decades to come.

“It makes no sense to block American coal production and then import coal from other countries.

“There is a good reason that coal will be needed well into the future.

“In contrast to wind and solar, coal-fired plants can provide dispatchable power.

“That is, they can provide electricity 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“In the last six months, this committee has received testimony from representatives of FERC the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and NERC the North American Electric Reliability Corporation.

“So we’re talking about regulations as well as reliability.

“They all told us that the premature retirement of dispatchable generation, which includes coal, they all say it jeopardizes our nation’s electric reliability.

“Eliminating this generation risks putting Americans in the dark and keeping the electric vehicles that they want to force on the American public parked and on empty.

“Instead of elimination, we should encourage innovation.

“Wyoming is doing just that.

“The Integrated Test Center in Gillette, Wyoming, is a shining example

of an innovative public-private partnership.

“It develops carbon capture, utilization, and storage technologies

in real world conditions.

“The University of Wyoming has also been at the cutting edge

of research and development of carbon capture, utilization and sequestration.

“It sponsored one of the original proposals picked to participate in the Department of Energy’s CarbonSAFE program.

“The program aims to develop geologic storage sites to store 50 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.

“The University was recently awarded additional funding under the program.

“This funding will be used to advance a carbon capture and storage hub in the Greater Green River Basin.

“It will do this with carbon dioxide derived from trona mining and direct air capture.

“Despite advances in carbon capture technology, challenges remain.

“For example, new carbon dioxide pipelines are needed to transport the carbon dioxide.

“And there is uncertainty around the rules that govern how to store carbon dioxide on federal land.

“I believe we can overcome these challenges.

“More difficult are the ideological obstacles.

“Some environmental extremists don’t want to see carbon capture move forward.

“To them, carbon emissions are not simply the problem.

“To them, coal, oil and natural gas are the problem.

“The Environmental Protection Agency is under immense pressure from extremists to deny states the authority to permit carbon dioxide injection wells.

“Opponents of carbon capture fear that states would actually permit these projects in a timely manner.

“Well the EPA appears to have buckled under that pressure from the extremist groups.

“Because only two states have the authority at this point to permit these wells: my home state of Wyoming and Senator Hoeven’s home state of North Dakota.

“Projects in other states must get a permit from the EPA.

“Currently, 163 wells are seeking approval from EPA in a process that can take up to six years.

“Meanwhile, EPA is pushing extreme air regulations that require the widespread use of carbon capture technology long before it can be implemented.

“It appears EPA’s goal is not to help carbon capture technology

but kill it.

“If we intend to maintain electric reliability in this country and reduce emissions at the same time, it is critical that we get this right.

“That means advancing policies that give carbon capture technologies a chance to reach its full potential.

“So I’m hoping today’s hearing, Mr. Chairman, will move us in that direction.

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”