Nearly One-Fifth of U.S. Senate Signs on to Major Carbon Capture Legislation

by NEORI on October 4, 2016

Both Senate and House Legislation Reflect Extraordinary Bipartisan Support of Critical Path to U.S. Energy Security and Emissions Reductions


October 4, 2016 – The National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative (NEORI) and Coal Utilization Research Council (CURC) recognize an important milestone in growing support for carbon capture: a total of 19 U.S. Senators are now co-sponsoring the Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage Act (S. 3179), introduced by Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), which aims to accelerate commercial deployment of technologies to capture carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and industrial facilities for enhanced oil recovery (CO2-EOR) and other forms of geologic storage or for conversion to useful products.

The broad co-sponsorship of S. 3179 reflects an unprecedented consensus on major legislation to advance domestic energy security and reduce carbon emissions.  GOP Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Vice-Presidential candidate Tim Kaine (D-VA), Assistant Democratic Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL), Senate Energy Committee Chair Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and three members of the Senate Finance Committee, Bob Casey (D-PA), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), all back the bill.

Additional co-sponsors include Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT); Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI); Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ); Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO); Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN); Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY); Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL); Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC); and Sen. Al Franken (D-MN).

The co-sponsors hail from all regions of the country—from the East Coast to Alaska and Hawaii.

The Heitkamp-Whitehouse-Capito legislation would provide financial certainty for private investors and stimulate commercial deployment of carbon capture projects. The legislation would extend the current federal Section 45Q tax credit incentive and increase its value for each ton of CO2 that is captured from power plants and industrial facilities and stored through EOR or other geologic storage. The legislation would reward performance because only projects that successfully capture and store CO2 could claim the credit. The legislation also would expand eligibility for the credit, so that more industries and facilities in more states could participate, and it would extend CO2 capture and use to new commercial applications beyond oil recovery.

NEORI and CURC members see the Heitkamp-Whitehouse-Capito legislation as further evidence of growing bipartisan political momentum in Congress for strengthening and extending the 45Q incentive this year, which remains a top priority for this industry, labor and environmental coalition. S. 3179 complements the Carbon Capture Act of 2016 (H.R. 4622) introduced in February by Representative Mike Conaway and co-sponsored by a total of 31 Republicans and 15 Democrats in the House, and expands on the bipartisan Senate amendment (SA 3645) co-authored by Senator Heidi Heitkamp and Senator Shelley Moore Capito with five additional Republican and two additional Democratic co-sponsors and offered in April to legislation reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration.

For over 40 years, the U.S. independent oil and gas industry has led the world in using CO2 for oil production and geologic storage of carbon, and CO2-EOR currently provides nearly 4 percent of domestic oil production and utilizes roughly 65 million tons of CO2 annually. According to a recent U.S. Department of Energy study, an increased supply of CO2 could enable the EOR industry to produce an additional 21-63 billion barrels of oil with today’s technology and store 10-20 billion tons of CO2, or up to four years’ worth of national emissions.

Additionally, both the International Energy Agency and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have highlighted the critical role that CCUS must play to meet global mid-century goals for mitigating carbon emissions from electric power generation and from a wide range of industrial activities, including natural gas processing, ethanol, fertilizer and hydrogen production, refining, and the manufacture of cement, steel and chemicals.

NEORI brings together coal, electric power, ethanol, chemical and energy technology companies, industrial labor unions, national environmental and climate organizations, and state officials dedicated to expanding deployment of carbon capture, utilization and storage as an energy, economic and environmental solution for our nation. CURC is an organization of coal-using utilities, coal producers, equipment suppliers, technology developers, research institutions, universities, state government entities, labor unions and NGOs focused on the development and deployment of technologies that will enable the cost-effective and environmentally acceptable use of America’s coal resources.  

Contact: Ben Finzel, 202-277-6286;

Previous post:

Next post: