Energy Department Official Parries GOP on Carbon Tech

The U.K. is cutting its cutting its financing of coal plants in other countries.
National Journal
Ben Geman
See more stories about...
Ben Geman
Dec. 3, 2013, 8:02 a.m.

A seni­or En­ergy De­part­ment of­fi­cial is giv­ing a polit­ic­al as­sist to the En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion Agency by vouch­ing for car­bon-trap­ping tech­no­logy that EPA is es­sen­tially re­quir­ing for new coal-fired power plants.

Chris­toph­er Smith, the act­ing head of DOE’s fossil-en­ergy of­fice, said the tech­no­logy is ready and pledged to help speed its mar­ket pen­et­ra­tion in writ­ten com­ments to Sen­ate En­ergy and Nat­ur­al Re­sources Com­mit­tee law­makers.

The com­ments re­spon­ded to ques­tions from sen­at­ors — in­clud­ing Re­pub­lic­an crit­ics of EPA’s cli­mate reg­u­la­tions — as part of Smith’s nom­in­a­tion to form­ally be­come DOE’s as­sist­ant sec­ret­ary for fossil en­ergy.

“[Car­bon cap­ture and stor­age] tech­no­logy has been and con­tin­ues to be de­ployed in a range of pro­jects. There are 12 large-scale CCS pro­jects in op­er­a­tion world­wide today,” Smith said in the com­ments, which were sub­mit­ted late last month and provided by the com­mit­tee on Tues­day.

He con­tin­ued, “If con­firmed, I will con­tin­ue to work with in­dustry in ad­van­cing CCS tech­no­lo­gies to con­tin­ue re­du­cing the cost of cap­ture, mak­ing CCS more ef­fi­cient, and pre­par­ing for wider-scale de­ploy­ment in fu­ture years.”

His com­ments ar­rive as Re­pub­lic­ans and some coal-coun­try Demo­crats are ham­mer­ing EPA’s pro­posed car­bon-emis­sions rules for fu­ture power plants.

The rules, floated in June, ef­fect­ively re­quire coal-fired plants to trap and store a sub­stan­tial por­tion of their emis­sions. Crit­ics of the pro­pos­al call it a de facto ban on new coal plants, as­sert­ing that the tech­no­logy is nowhere close to wide­spread read­i­ness.

Smith, in re­sponse to a ques­tion from Sen. John Bar­rasso, R-Wyo., cau­tioned that his agency does not de­term­ine wheth­er a tech­no­logy is “ad­equately demon­strated” with­in the mean­ing of the Clean Air Act. That’s EPA’s call.

But he noted, “All com­pon­ents of CCS, in­clud­ing large-scale CO2 cap­ture, trans­port­a­tion, and mul­ti­mil­lion-ton per year in­jec­tion, have been demon­strated world­wide and in the U.S. for many years.”

What We're Following See More »
WORDS AND PICTURES
White House Looks Back on bin Laden Mission
59 minutes ago
WHY WE CARE
NO BATTLE OVER SEATTLE
SCOTUS Won’t Hear Appeal of Minimum-Wage Law
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a sweeping constitutional challenge to Seattle’s minimum wage law, in what could have been a test case for future legal attacks on similar measures across the country. In a one-line order, the justices declined to hear a case by the International Franchise Association and a group of Seattle franchisees, which had said in court papers that the city’s gradual wage increase to $15 discriminates against them in a way that violates the Constitution’s commerce clause."

Source:
DOWN TO THE WIRE
Sanders Looks to Right the Ship in Indiana
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

Hillary Clinton may have the Democratic nomination sewn up, but Bernie Sanders apparently isn't buying it. Buoyed by a poll showing them in a "virtual tie," Sanders is "holding three rallies on the final day before the state primary and hoping to pull off a win after a tough week of election losses and campaign layoffs." 

Source:
CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION IN JUNE
DC to Release Draft Constitution as Part of Statehood Push
3 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

"The New Columbia Statehood Commission—composed of five District leaders including Mayor Muriel Bowser, D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, and D.C.'s congressional delegation—voted today to publicly release a draft of a new constitution for an eventual state next Friday, at the Lincoln Cottage." It's the first step in a statehood push this year that will include a constitutional convention in June and a referendum in November.

Source:
ALZHEIMER’S OUTCRY
Will Ferrell Bails on Reagan Movie
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

Amid outcry by President Reagan's children, actor Will Ferrell has pulled out of a movie that makes light of Reagan's Alzheimer's disease. A spokesperson for Ferrell said, “The ‘Reagan’ script is one of a number of scripts that had been submitted to Will Ferrell which he had considered. While it is by no means an ‘Alzheimer’s comedy’ as has been suggested, Mr. Ferrell is not pursuing this project."

Source:
×