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 »
"Even if House Republicans manage to get enough members of their party on board with the latest version of their health care bill, they will face another battle in the Senate: whether the bill complies with the chamber’s arcane ... Byrd rule, which stipulates all provisions in a reconciliation bill must affect federal spending and revenues in a way that is not merely incidental." Democrats should have the advantage in that fight, "unless the Senate pulls another 'nuclear option.'”
The House has passed a one-week spending bill that will avert a government shutdown which was set to begin at midnight. Lawmakers now have an extra week to come to a longer agreement which is expected to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass before President Trump signs it.
President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."
Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.