WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy, held a hearing today to consider multiple pieces of legislation. Legislation considered in the hearing included Cassidy’s LEADING Act, legislation incentivizing research and development of carbon capture technology for natural gas to ensure a reliable, affordable, and environmentally sound energy supply.
During his opening remarks, Cassidy highlighted the United States’ ability to lower carbon emissions and maintain economic growth through increased use of cleaner burning, American natural gas. He also made clear that high carbon emissions levels is a global issue and to reduce global greenhouse gasses and be a leader in emissions reductions, the U.S. needs to provide a model that other countries, including developing nations, can and will follow.
“The Department of Energy will play a critical role in helping the United States and the world lower emissions. Which is, of course, a global problem. If we want to be leaders, we need to provide a model that others can follow. And part of that model, is showing the world that through innovation, we can lower our emissions and maintain a modern economy,” said Chairman Cassidy.
Earlier this year, Cassidy released a white paper making the case for a pro-jobs approach to lowering greenhouse gas emissions. The paper explains how increased use of natural gas lowers emissions while furthering American economic success, and came after Democrats proposed the Green New Deal, which would cost trillions of dollars, put millions of Americans out of work, and increase global emissions by sending energy intensive industries overseas with lower emissions protections.
A transcript of Senator Cassidy’s full remarks are below:
Good morning, today the committee comes together for a legislative hearing on several bills. I appreciate the opportunity to work with Senator Heinrich, the subcommittee’s Ranking Member, to address key issues relating to our energy portfolio.
This legislative hearing will allow us to receive testimony and ask questions from, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Electricity, Mr. Bruce Walker and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oil and Gas from the Office of Fossil Fuel, Mr. Shawn Bennett.
The Department of Energy will play a critical role in helping the United States and the world lower emissions. Which is, of course, a global problem. If we want to be leaders, we need to provide a model that others can follow. And part of that model, is showing the world that through innovation, we can lower our emissions and maintain a modern economy.
Through technological breakthroughs such as carbon capture and energy storage, we have the opportunity to show such a model. However, if we are to reach these breakthroughs we must ensure that the right policies are in place to set up success. There have been promising breakthroughs in each area and I hope we can continue to build.
One of the bills on the docket, I have been working on with my colleague Senator Cornyn, is S. 1685, the Launching Energy Advancement and Development through Innovations for Natural Gas Act (the LEAD ACT). This bill requires the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to establish a research, development, and demonstration program for carbon capture technologies for use by natural gas-generating power facilities.
I want to acknowledge the hard work that the DOE is already doing to develop carbon capture technology for both coal and natural gas. But as we continue to increase our natural gas consumption, new challenges arise and we must keep natural gas competitive.
The United States is leading the world in lowering emissions by increasing its use of natural gas, and other innovative resources. Natural gas is now the main source of energy in the United States, generating 35.1% percent of our electricity in 2018. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects this number to continue to rise for the foreseeable future as more natural gas power plants come online.
Natural gas emits 50 to 60 percent less carbon dioxide (CO2) when combusted in a natural gas power plant compared with other sources. It also supports the deployment of renewable energy. Gas power plants can quickly and safely ramp up and down to combat the volatility of renewables. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, a 1 percent increase in the share of fast-reacting power source is associated with almost a .9% percent long term increase in renewable generation. Investment in gas is able and necessary to support increased use of renewables.
Developing cost-effective carbon capture technology for natural gas power plants will help the United States continue lowering emissions while creating jobs and supporting domestic energy production and security.
Other bills on today’s docket include several energy storage bills that would each authorize funding to encourage energy storage research, development, and demonstration (RD&D).
S. 143, the Department of Energy Veteran’s Health Initiative Act, introduced by Senator Ernst, authorizes DOE to conduct collaborative research with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) in order to improve healthcare services for veterans in the United States.
S. 983, the Weatherization Enhancement and Local Energy Efficiency Investment and Accountability Act of 2019, introduced by Senator Coons, reauthorizes and modernizes the DOE’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP).
S. 1857, the Federal Energy and Water Management Performance Act of 2019, introduced by Chairman Murkowksi, improves federal energy and water performance requirements and formally authorizes the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP).
S. 1064, the Appalachian Energy for Natural Security Act, introduced by Ranking Member Manchin, requires DOE, in consultation with the Department of Defense and Treasury, to conduct a study and issue a report on the national security benefits of the proposed ethane storage and distribution hub located in Appalachia.
Lastly, H.R. 1138, introduced by Representative Reed, would reauthorize the West Valley Demonstration Project in West Valley, New York.
I will know turn to my colleague, Ranking Member Heinrich.