March 17, 2021

Manchin, Capito Introduce Nation's First Comprehensive CO2 Infrastructure Bill

Bipartisan bill boosts carbon capture infrastructure – reducing emissions and creating more than 13,000 jobs per year

Washington, DC – Infrastructure to support carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS) technology remains underdeveloped in the United States, leaving a critical gap in what is needed to deploy of this crucial tool in the fight against climate change. To address this issue, U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, today introduced the Storing CO2 And Lowering Emissions (SCALE) Act. The landmark bill will help develop CCUS infrastructure as critical means of reducing emissions of CO2 – or carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas – while creating regional economic opportunities and jobs.

The SCALE Act is the first comprehensive CO2 infrastructure package to be introduced in Congress. The bill would support the buildout of infrastructure to transport CO2 from the sites of capture to locations where it can be either utilized in manufacturing or sequestered safely and securely underground. Carbon capture will play a critical role in reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, and the availability of CO2 transport infrastructure is necessary to drive investments in carbon capture technologies.

The legislation would also provide critical regional economic opportunities and create thousands of jobs. An analysis released as part of the Decarb America Project shows that the provisions in the SCALE Act could create approximately 13,000 direct and indirect jobs per year through the 5-year authorization. This figure does not include the additional thousands of jobs created by retrofitting energy-intensive facilities such as cement and steel plants or by building direct air capture (DAC) plants.

“Advancing legislation that enables wide-scale deployment of CCUS technologies must continue to be a priority. The SCALE Act does just that by complementing and building on the nearly $6 billion for CCUS research, development, deployment, and commercialization I secured in the Energy Act of 2020. This bill will enhance the entire CCUS value chain by incentivizing the buildout of CO2 pipeline and storage infrastructure, providing a critical link for CO2 sequestration and end-use markets. Measures like these will push our clean energy objectives forward while supporting thousands of clean energy, infrastructure and manufacturing jobs across the country, including in traditional energy producing communities like those in West Virginia,” said Senator Manchin, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

“This is a commonsense, win-win bill that will help lower carbon emissions and create jobs through the construction of pipelines,” said Senator Capito, Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “Building infrastructure for carbon capture utilization and storage is critical in promoting deployment of this technology. Partnered with the bipartisan 45Q tax credit I authored and the reforms of the USE IT Act, this bill further advances our carbon capture goals.”

How the SCALE Act supports carbon capture: Interconnected CO2 transport systems that collect CO2 from capture sources and deliver it to shared CO2 storage sites are the key backbone infrastructure needed for widespread carbon capture deployment at the necessary scale to achieve economy-wide emissions reductions. Yet, deployment of CO2 infrastructure faces critical cost barriers that require federal support to overcome. Many countries and regions, including the European Union, the UK, Norway, Australia, and Canada, have already committed billions to construct CO2 transport and storage infrastructure to decarbonize heavy industry, and the United States is currently lagging behind. The SCALE Act would provide the federal support needed to kick-start a CO2 transport and storage infrastructure build-out over the next decade to get the United States back on track. This new transport infrastructure will enable CO2 to be transported from the site of capture to locations where it can be used or stored safely underground.

To support carbon capture and job growth, the SCALE Act would:

  • Establish the CO2 Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (CIFIA) program, which will provide flexible, low-interest loans for CO2 transport infrastructure projects and grants for initial excess capacity on new infrastructure to facilitate future growth. Modeled after the existing TIFIA and WIFIA programs for highway and water infrastructure, CIFIA will help facilitate private sector investment in infrastructure critical for reaching net-zero emissions. The bill also includes grants for Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) studies for CO2 transport infrastructure.
  • Build upon the existing Department of Energy (DOE) CarbonSAFE program to provide cost sharing for deployment of commercial-scale saline geologic CO2 storage projects. The program would give priority to larger, commercial saline geologic storage projects that will serve as hubs for storing CO2 from multiple carbon capture facilities.
  • Authorize increased funding to EPA for permitting Class VI CO2 storage wells in saline geologic formations and providing grants for states to establish their own Class VI permitting programs to ensure rigorous and efficient CO2 geologic storage site permitting.
  • Provide grants to state and local governments for procuring CO2 utilization products and support state and local programs that create demand for materials, fuels, and other products made from captured carbon. The bill also adds the objective of developing standards and certifications for products that use CO2 to DOE’s carbon utilization program.

In the Senate, the bill is also cosponsored by U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-DE), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Tina Smith (D-MN), John Hoeven (R-ND), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Mike Braun (R-IN), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). In the House of Representatives, cosponsors include U.S. Representatives Marc Veasey (D-TX), David McKinley (R-WV), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Pete Stauber (R-MN), Terri Sewell (D-AL), and Liz Cheney (R-WY).

The SCALE Act is endorsed by a broad coalition of labor, environmental, and industry stakeholders: Carbon Capture Coalition, Third Way, National Wildlife Federation, Growth Energy, Carbon Engineering, Clean Air Task Force, Occidental, Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, Bipartisan Policy Center Action, Utility Workers Union of America, Carbon Utilization Research Council, Calpine, GE Gas Power, United Steelworkers, North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU), C2ES, Carbon180, The Nature Conservancy, and the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).

Additional endorsing quotes can be found here.

One-pager on the bill is available here.

Bill text is available here.