The USE IT Act is a Step in the Right Direction

The USE IT Act, first introduced in the 115th Congress, is once again making its way through committees-- and with bipartisan support.  The bill’s full title is the Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies Act (USE IT), and was sponsored by Senators John Barasso (R-WY) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).  Other co-sponsors include Senators Capito, Carper, Duckworth, Cramer, Smith, Manchin, and Enzi, and the Act passed unanimously out of the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee last year.  And that bipartisan support is well-deserved; according to Barasso: “The USE IT Act supports groundbreaking innovation to address climate change. Carbon Capture and utilization technologies hold the key to major emissions reductions.”

The USE IT Act deals with carbon capture, and has the potential to garner bipartisan support from all sects within each party.  The bill has already doubled its number of co-sponsors this year, and is being acknowledged by those on every side of this issue as a solution that everyone can support.  Adding co-sponsors such as Senators Inhofe and Carper are further proof that the USE IT Act is a step in the right direction.  

The USE IT Act would build on the FUTURE Act, a piece of bipartisan legislation now signed into law that was introduced by Barrasso, Whitehouse, and Capito to extend and expand the 45Q tax credit, providing certainty to utilities and other industrial sources and incentivize the build-out of CCUS projects.  However, this isn’t the only progress that would be made by enacting the USE IT Act into law.

The Act would narrowly amend the Clean Air Act to direct the EPA to use its existing authority to support carbon utilization and direct air capture research.  In a time when carbon is a hotly-contested issue, the Act would expand research on the subject and provide more room for bipartisan solutions. In addition, it would clarify that CCUS projects and CO2 pipelines are eligible for the permitting review process established by the FAST Act, and would direct the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to establish guidance to assist project developers and operators of CCUS facilities and CO2 pipelines.

Lastly, the USE IT Act would establish task forces to hear input from affected stakeholders for updating and improving guidance over time.  This step ensures both accountability and improvement throughout the entire process by including as many voices as possible; and by bringing these voices together, we provide the most opportunity for real solutions to come to fruition.

ACC is hopeful that the USE IT Act is a step in the right direction, and we urge members of Congress to work toward implementation of this important legislation.