Gordon calls for federal carbon capture support

CASPER — Wyoming’s governor urged members of Congress on Friday to back federal legislation that could help speed up carbon capture infrastructure development across the country.

Gov. Mark Gordon joined governors in Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Oklahoma in drafting a letter to several lawmakers, urging them to support the SCALE Act, co-sponsored by Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney.

The proposed federal legislation would provide low-income loans and grants to build out a transportation network for carbon, in a similar way the government has supported water or highway infrastructure development.

Carbon capture, storage and utilization, or CCUS, is the process of trapping and using carbon dioxide, a climate-warming pollutant.

“We urge Congress to prioritize the inclusion of this critical legislation in any broader infrastructure package, given its essential role in helping to achieve net-zero emissions economywide,” the letter stated.

The governors and other proponents of the technology hope to find a commercially viable method to eventually capture all carbon emissions coming from coal-fired power plants or other industrial facilities.

The captured carbon could then be used for enhanced oil recovery, transformed into new products or sequestered underground to lower carbon emissions.

“As a group of collective states with a shared interest, we stand ready to work with you to implement policies that scale up the regional and national CO2 transport infrastructure to achieve net-zero emissions goals,” Gordon said in a written statement.

“Wyoming has always been a leader in Carbon Capture, Utilization and Sequestration (CCUS) and we are committed to making Wyoming the next state to have a CCUS facility,” he continued. “I recently set the goal for Wyoming to not only be carbon neutral, but actually carbon negative while continuing to use fossil fuels. While not a new technology, as more facilities are built CCUS will improve and costs will also decline.”

Back in Wyoming, state lawmakers voted to support a budget amendment to match carbon capture projects up to $10 million. Wyoming’s House and Senate have yet to come to a resolution on the entire budget bill, but the appropriation for research is one of very few instances where both chambers have been in agreement.

The Biden administration has stated its goal of combating climate change, with the goal of eliminating carbon pollution from its power sector by 2035 and achieving a net-zero economy by 2050.

While Biden’s climate team has emphasized the need to transition aggressively to clean energy, Wyoming political leaders have defended its leading industries, particularly coal, saying fossil fuels can still be a part of the country’s low-carbon future.