Democratic News

Opening Statement – April 20, 2010
 
Carbon Capture & Sequestration Legislation
  
“I’d like to welcome everyone here today and thank the witnesses who are testifying before the committee for this legislative hearing on bills S.1856 and S. 1134, as well as a legislative discussion draft proposed by Sens. Rockefeller and Voinovich.  These bills each focus on important issues associated with the deployment of commercial carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) technologies.  S. 1856 focuses on the issue of pore space ownership in the subsurface below Federal lands.  S.1134 focuses more broadly on CCS research, development, and demonstration related generally to clean coal power generation.  The draft legislation aims to accelerate the commercial viability of CCS technologies and methods by supporting commercial-scale demonstrations of integrated CCS technology projects. 
 
“The topic of reducing greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide emissions, remains a great concern to me and the members of this Committee.  Carbon capture and storage holds promise as one means 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, integrated carbon capture and storage systems may present the most immediate solution for continued use of coal and other carbon intensive fuels while not contributing further to carbon dioxide emissions and global warming.    
 
“Last May, I introduced S.1013, which was a piece of legislation that focused on reducing some of the uncertainty for CCS project developers by providing an indemnity program for the first 10 early mover, commercial scale CCS projects.  We had a hearing in our committee that received testimony, not just on that bill, but also the issue that we are here to discuss today – particularly on pore space ownership.  S.1013 did make it through the committee process and now is a part of our larger energy bill, the American Clean Energy Leadership Act.  However, much work still needs to be done to scale up CCS technologies to meet the level of carbon reductions that are needed to mitigate the effects of climate change.
 
“Earlier this year, President Obama announced that he would begin charting a path towards a cleaner future for coal use, by initiating the Interagency Task Force on Carbon Capture and Storage.  The Task Force, co-chaired by one of our witnesses here today – Dr. Markowski, from the Department of Energy – is working to develop a plan to overcome the barriers to widespread, cost-effective deployment of CCS within 10 years. I am looking forward to hearing more about what the Task Force has identified as challenges for CCS deployment and also to how we, the Members of this committee, can work with the Administration to address and overcome some of those challenges.      
 
“I would like to begin the hearing by welcoming the original bill sponsors who have come to speak on the bills today.  Sen. Casey will introduce S.1134 and Sen. Barrasso will introduce his bill, S.1856.”
    
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