Energy CEOs, Obama climate officials form CCS group

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E News reporter • Posted: Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Coal, oil and utility CEOs and top climate officials from the Obama administration are forming a new leadership council to push carbon capture legislation and policies.

The group will be part of the Carbon Capture Coalition, an organization advocating for bills such as the “Utilizing Significant Emissions With Innovative Technologies (USE IT) Act,” S. 2602, that passed the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee this month.

It also will back broader state policies and industry actions that could help deploy technologies capturing CO2 from fossil fuels and utilizing or storing the greenhouse gas.

The National Carbon Capture Leadership Council initially will include Bipartisan Policy Center President Jason Grumet, Prairie State Generating Co. CEO Don Gaston, Occidental Petroleum Corp. CEO Vicki Hollub, Utility Workers Union of America President Mike Langford, Cloud Peak Energy Inc. CEO Colin Marshall, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions President Bob Perciasepe, and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Environment Program Director Jonathan Pershing.

Pershing previously was a top climate adviser to former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and President Obama. Perciasepe was a deputy EPA administrator during the Obama administration.

“The formation of the council represents a commitment from top business and [nongovernmental organization] leaders to work together to ensure recent progress moves into higher gear, and leads to further technology advancements, new applications and the construction of a new generation of capture projects in the ground,” said Jeff Bobeck, energy policy director at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions and co-director of the Carbon Capture Coalition.

The leadership council could add members outside the coalition, and its objectives include promoting carbon capture through “personal engagement and outreach to federal and state elected officials,” according to a statement.

The council will host an annual meeting, have quarterly calls and decide independently which policies it wants to focus most on, a coalition official said.

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust, and Energy Foundation are funding the group.

The coalition, which includes more than 50 companies and organizations, formed in February to advance carbon capture technology (Greenwire, Feb. 23). It is supporting various bills introduced in Congress that would support carbon capture, utilization and storage projects, including through private activity bonds and master limited partnerships.

The “USE IT Act” would amend the Clean Air Act and other federal laws to expedite permitting for CO2 pipelines and authorize new research (Greenwire, May 22).

Last week, the Nature Conservancy announced it was joining the coalition.

The council follows the creation in April of the Energy Advance Center, a lobbying group that includes Southern Co. and other oil interests aiming to promote CCUS technology.

The center is also supporting the “USE IT Act” but is separate from the coalition and has not publicly announced its full legislative agenda.