Democratic News

To watch a video of Senator Manchin’s opening remarks, please click here.

To watch a video of Senator Manchin’s questioning, please click here.

Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing to examine the development and deployment of large-scale carbon dioxide management technologies in the United States, including technological and natural carbon removal, carbon utilization, and carbon storage. U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Ranking Member of the Committee, expressed his support for investments in emissions reducing technologies, which are necessary to address the global climate challenge.

“CO2 emissions are not just coming from the power sector. In fact, in 2018, transportation accounted for 28% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, while power generation accounted for 27%, industry 22%, commercial and residential 13%, and agriculture 10%. Those figures make it clear we can’t just be focused on the electric sector and power plants, we need to be thinking more broadly and finding solutions across all of these sectors. Concepts like carbon removal include technologies that can capture carbon dioxide from power plants, but they also include technologies that capture CO2 right out of the ambient air and engineered natural processes, like mineralization. Direct air capture technology, once matured, will be able to be deployed anywhere and carbon dioxide removal will help offset the emissions from all of the sectors I just mentioned. It’s a necessary complement to the work being done to reduce emissions across the board,” Ranking Member Manchin said. 

Ranking Member Manchin questioned witnesses on the need to promote and diversify the uses of captured CO2 and on the challenges some regions of the country have in accessing CO2 storage – two areas supported by Sen. Manchin’s EFFECT Act. 

“[W]e’ve now seen that diversification is critical for the longevity of these CCUS projects, and we need to ensure that there are other ways to create value from capturing CO2 – whether from power plants and from the ambient air. What other tools are needed from us to help foster innovative, valuable carbon utilization methods?” asked Senator Manchin.

“One of the areas that I think we have a bit of a shortfall here in the United States is the necessary infrastructure to move CO2. As you pointed out, not all areas are geologically suitable for CO2 storage,” said Mr. Steven Winberg, Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy, U.S. Department of Energy.

“Especially those areas such as West Virginia that basically produce a lot of CO2 because of the tremendous amount of power plants that we have. It is not feasible for it to work there unless we have some other use for it,” said Senator Manchin.

“Two thoughts on that, replied Mr. Steven Winberg. “One is building out a CO2 infrastructure system. Pipelines are becoming increasingly difficult to build here in the United States but that doesn’t take away the very real need for CO2 infrastructure so that we can move the CO2 to where it’s needed to, in effect,commoditize it. Number two is the research that we have ongoing to find other uses for CO2 beyond enhanced oil recovery; to turn CO2 into a feedstock or a commodity to build out products whether it be fuel or other valuable products. So both of those are are absolutely necessary if we’re going to make significant reductions in CO2,” said Mr. Steven Winberg.

“My concern is that the states that have been the energy producers that this country has relied all these years are not left behind. These people who have done this tremendously hard work all these years are just asking for an opportunity. As we develop all these new technologies, I would hope that these tax credits will be mandated to be used in the areas where the job loss has come from. If we are replacing energy technology, moving forward those people should have an opportunity for another life and a good paying job,” said Senator Manchin.

The hearing featured witnesses from the U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Futures Initiative, Inc., Carbon Utilization Research Council, Columbia University and Bipartisan Policy Center. To read their testimony click here.

To watch the hearing in full, please click here.

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