Capito Carbon Capture Bill Passes the Senate in Defense Authorization Legislation

The USE IT Act will support innovation, incentivize carbon capture development, deployment

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Senate today passed S. 383, the Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies (USE IT) Act, as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Senator Capito first introduced this legislation in March 2018. The USE IT Act supports carbon utilization and direct air capture research. The bill also supports federal, state, and non-governmental collaboration in the construction and development of carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS) facilities and carbon dioxide (CO2) pipelines.

“The USE IT Act embodies how innovation, not regulation, is the right way to tackle environmental issues,” Senator Capito said. “Carbon capture technologies are essential to reducing emissions while protecting jobs. I’m proud of this work from colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and I’m proud to see it pass the Senate with bipartisan support.” 

“I want to make American energy as clean as we can, as fast as we can, without raising costs on families,” Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said. “The best way to do that is through innovation, not government regulation. The USE IT Act is a bipartisan bill to promote carbon capture technologies that take carbon out of the air and find productive uses for it. These promising technologies could result in significant emissions reductions. The USE IT Act will support the type of great research already happening in Wyoming at the Integrated Test Center and around the country. I want to thank Chairman Inhofe for making the USE IT Act a priority. This is an important step toward having the legislation signed into law.”

“The science is clear that avoiding the worst of climate change will mean more than reducing carbon pollution,” Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said. “It will mean actively pulling back out of the air what the fossil fuel industry pumped out. I’m proud to be working across the aisle on ways to boost promising new technologies like direct air capture. We’ve done it before. With this bill, we’re poised to do it again.”

“Military leaders have warned us for years that climate change poses both immediate and long-term threats to our national security and military readiness,” Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) said. “These are real dangers that will only worsen in time if we do nothing to stem the tide of this crisis. While CCUS is only one part of the equation, we need to be using every tool at our disposal to significantly and rapidly reduce carbon emissions and protect our economy, national security, and environment from the worsening impacts of climate change. I’m especially thankful that the legislation takes meaningful strides in advancing direct air capture technology, an exciting area of innovation.  The USE IT Act will help put this emerging industry on sound footing, creating jobs here at home and helping our manufacturers export American-made technology to the world.”

The USE IT Act complements the bipartisan FUTURE Act that passed last year. It would: 

  • Narrowly amend the Clean Air Act to direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to support carbon utilization and direct air capture research.
  • Clarify that CCUS projects and CO2 pipelines are eligible for the streamlined permitting review process established by the FAST Act.
  • Direct the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to establish guidance to expedite the development of CCUS facilities and CO2 pipelines.
  • Establish task forces to hear input from affected stakeholders for updating and improving guidance over time.

Read the text of the USE IT Act included in the NDAA here.

Background Information: 

  • On April 10, 2019, the EPW Committee unanimously passed the USE IT Act at an EPW Committee business meeting.
  • On February 27, 2019, the EPW Committee held a legislative hearing on S. 383. All three witnesses testified in support of the bill: Paul Sukut, General Manager & CEO, Basin Electric Power Cooperative; Steve Oldham, CEO, Carbon Engineering; and Kurt Waltzer, Managing Director, Clean Air Task Force.
  • On February 7, 2019, the USE IT Act was introduced.
  • The USE IT Act was first introduced during the 115th Congress. The EPW Committee also advanced the legislation unanimously in 2018.

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