May 08, 2018

Manchin, Heitkamp Introduce Bill to Protect Coal Jobs and Develop Technologies to Secure Coal's Future

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) today introduced the Fossil Energy Utilization, Enhancement, and Leadership Act, a bill that will help protect coal jobs and develop new technologies to be used domestically and exported internationally.

“Over the last decade, our nation’s electricity grid has experienced a major shift in its domestic fuel supply mix. In order to maintain affordable and reliable electricity, it is critical for our country to support an all-of-the-above energy portfolio that includes all of our domestic resources, and to face the fact that fossil fuels—especially coal—will continue to play an integral role in producing our nation’s electricity for decades to come. Everyone agrees that our existing energy policy is outdated and that we must invest in the research and development of technologies that will ensure continued affordable electricity, clean coal production, and reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. That’s why I’m introducing the Fossil Energy Utilization, Enhancement, and Leadership Act to protect West Virginia coal jobs and to develop new technologies that will secure the role of fossil fuels in our clean energy future,” Senator Manchin said.

“To forge a viable future for North Dakota coal, we must support research and new technologies that make our plentiful domestic resources affordable and clean,” Heitkamp said. “This bill is an important part of an all-of-the-above energy strategy focused on affordability and security through use of our domestic energy resources, and further enhances the federal commitment to advanced coal technologies by building on my bipartisan FUTURE Act which passed and was signed into law earlier this year – resulting in a big win for coal jobs and reliable domestic energy. In a carbon constrained world, technologies this legislation will support like CCUS are essential – and this bill will get us closer to a clean and secure energy future.”

The Fossil Energy Utilization, Enhancement, and Leadership Act addresses our nation’s existing energy challenges. Specifically, the Fossil Energy Utilization, Enhancement, and Leadership Act:

  • Directs the Department of Energy to establish an updated coal technology program to develop new transformational technologies for coal power generation, which will protect coal jobs, ensure the continued use of our domestic resources, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The coal technology program will include the following components: a research and development program, large-scale pilot program, demonstration projects program, net-negative carbon dioxide emissions projects, and a front-end engineering and design program.
  • Establishes a program for research, development, and demonstration of carbon utilization. The program will assess and monitor the lifecycle of carbon dioxide emissions, and identify opportunities to commercialize and evaluate new and novel uses of carbon dioxide.
  • Establishes an interagency task force on carbon dioxide pipelines. The task force will consist of relevant federal agencies, as well state and local officials, who will be required to convene, examine and report on the viability and challenges of a national system of carbon dioxide pipelines. 
  • Directs the Secretary of Energy to study the costs and benefits of entering into binding long-term stabilization support contracts with utilities or other qualified parties in order to ensure a viable market price for the carbon dioxide captured from electrical generating units and being sold to purchasers for enhanced oil recovery or other potential commercial market uses.
  • Requires the Department of Energy to continue research and development for advanced separation technologies for rare earth elements (REEs) from coal and coal byproducts. These “critical minerals” are required for the manufacturing of commodities that are a mainstay in the lives of virtually all Americans. However, the United States relies on foreign nations for imports of these materials. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 provides $15 million for the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) to continue developing prototype advanced separation technologies for extraction and recovery of REEs from coal and coal byproducts. This bill will codify existing efforts, and increase funding.