Murkowski: CCUS as a Key to Help Address Climate Change

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today chaired a hearing of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee to examine the Department of Energy’s carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) programs. As part of the hearing, the committee also received testimony on S. 1201, the Enhancing Fossil Fuel Energy Carbon Technology Act or EFFECT Act, which is sponsored by Ranking Member Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. 

Murkowski, a cosponsor of the EFFECT Act, opened the hearing by outlining the role that CCUS technology can play in reducing global carbon dioxide emissions.

“We are seeing that CCUS technology can work. There are 18 large-scale facilities in commercial operation around the world that are already capturing and storing tens of millions of tons of carbon dioxide per year,” Murkowski said. “In order for CCUS to have meaningful impact on global emissions, however, many more of these facilities need to be deployed.”

Murkowski went on to highlight how the EFFECT Act will build on the success of recent efforts.

“By making CCUS deployment a priority, the U.S. has an excellent economic opportunity to become the global supplier for these critical technologies. The EFFECT Act is a natural complement to our work last Congress to expand the 45Q tax credit and presents a tremendous opportunity to reduce our emissions while maintaining the availability of reliable electric generation resources,” Murkowski said. “Our bipartisan bill will help us seize that opportunity by expanding and modernizing DOE’s research and development programs in this field.”

The hearing’s witnesses reiterated the need to make CCUS deployment a priority.

Steven Winberg, Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy at the Department of Energy, testified that “All informed experts agree, commercializing and deploying CCUS technologies is a realistic path to reducing CO2 emissions on a large scale.”

The witnesses also testified to the need to take the next step to build on the success of DOE’s efforts so far, by taking that research to the field.

Dr. Julio Friedmann, Senior Research Scholar at Columbia University’s Center for Global Energy Policy, explained that “Although basic research remains important, both urgency and maturity of CCUS systems require us to emphasize applied R&D and demonstration.”

During the question-and-answer portion of the hearing, Murkowski asked the panel about regulatory and economic challenges for additional CCUS deployment, and how Congress and the federal government can be a more effective partner in the development of these technologies.

Manchin introduced the EFFECT Act on April 11, 2019. The bill would establish four R&D programs focused on coal and natural gas technology, carbon storage, carbon utilization, and carbon removal. In addition to Murkowski, Senators Shelley Moore Capito, Kevin Cramer, Steve Daines, Lamar Alexander, John Hoeven, and Doug Jones are cosponsors of the bill.   

Murkowski is chairman of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. An archived video of today’s hearing can be found on the committee’s website. Click here and here to view her questions for the witnesses.

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