WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today led a bipartisan group of senators in sending a letter to White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Chair Brenda Mallory inquiring about the status of CEQ’s implementation of the Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies (USE IT) Act, legislation that would support carbon utilization and direct air capture research.

In addition to Ranking Member Capito, the following senators cosigned the letter: Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.).

The full letter can be found here and below:

Dear Chair Mallory,

We write to inquire about the status of the Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) implementation of the Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies (USE IT) Act. The USE IT Act was signed into law as section 102 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (P.L. 116-260) as a bipartisan effort to support the development of carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) projects. CCUS technologies have been recognized internationally as an essential element in reducing carbon dioxide emissions. President Biden has recognized that reducing power sector emissions requires “leveraging the carbon pollution-free energy potential of power plants retrofitted with carbon capture . . . .”

The ability to maximize the development of CCUS projects will require the creation of pipeline networks capable of transporting captured carbon dioxide to markets for commercial use or to reservoirs for permanent sequestration. A key barrier limiting CCUS project deployment has been the complicated maze of permitting requirements. Therefore, CEQ will play a pivotal role in implementing the law and removing barriers to encourage these innovative projects.

Among its provisions, the USE IT Act directs the Chair of CEQ to convene various federal agencies and develop a report within 180 days of enactment, by June 25, 2021, to provide, among other things, a review of the federal permitting process, including providing best practices and templates for more efficient permitting. This report will improve the ability of interested agencies and stakeholders to engage and assist in developing CCUS projects and supporting carbon dioxide pipelines.

Following the release of the report, the USE IT Act directs CEQ to develop guidance consistent with the report’s findings. This guidance will improve federal agencies’ ability to facilitate permitting and support the efficient development of CCUS projects and supporting infrastructure.

Given the broad, bipartisan support for enhanced deployment of CCUS technologies, we request that CEQ provide a full accounting to Congress on CEQ’s progress in implementing the USE IT Act by June 10, 2021 and on an ongoing basis every three months thereafter.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this important matter.

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