Democratic News

May 14 2009

Capturing Carbon

Today, Sen. Bingaman chaired a hearing on S. 1013, the Department of Energy Carbon Capture and Sequestration Program Amendments Act of 2009. This bipartisan bill was introduced with Sens. Barrasso, Dorgan, Tester, Bayh, Landrieu, Casey and Voinovich as co-sponsors.  The legislation establishes a national indemnity program through the Department of Energy for up to 10 commercial-scale carbon capture and sequestration projects. 
“Based on the input of industrial, environmental, NGOs and other organizations, it is clear to me that there is a real need for liability treatments and adequate project financing for early-mover projects.  The creation of an indemnity program for these large-scale early-mover projects is an important, necessary step to building confidence for project developers, as well as the public,” said Bingaman.
S. 1013, sets qualifying criteria that will help to ensure that critical early-mover projects will be conducted safely while addressing the growing concerns of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from industrial facilities, such as coal and natural gas fired utilities, cement plants, refineries and other carbon intensive industrial processes.
The legislation also maps out a clear framework for closing down a geological storage site.  Bingaman added, “It is essential to consider the issue of safe, long-term storage of carbon dioxide.  It is also critical to take the steps necessary for site stewardship during the injection phase, directly following closure, and for long-term preventative maintenance of the geologic storage site.
“The topic of reducing greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide emissions, remains a great concern to me and the other Members of this Committee.  Carbon capture and geologic storage holds promise as a measure that can be used to mitigate global climate change, while still allowing the use of fossil fuels at electricity-generating plants and industrial facilities.  With discussion centered on coal use in a carbon-constrained world, carbon capture and storage may pose the most immediate solution for continued use of coal while not contributing further to carbon dioxide emissions and global warming.” 
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