At a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee this week, Senator John Hoeven secured a commitment from Dan Brouillette, Deputy Energy Secretary and the nominee to serve as the U.S. Secretary of Energy, to visit North Dakota and see firsthand the efforts of the University of North Dakota’s Energy and Environmental Research Center (EERC) and its partners to develop commercially-viable carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies. Hoeven previously hosted Brouillete in North Dakota to keynote last year’s Great Plains and Empower ND Energy Conference.

In this week’s hearing and during a meeting with Brouillette last month, Hoeven highlighted the state’s leadership in both traditional and renewable energy production and stressed the need to:

 

·        Maintain federal support for the development of innovative technologies, like Project Tundra and the Allam Cycle, which will allow for more energy production with fewer emissions.

·        Invest in the nation’s infrastructure, like pipelines and transmission lines, in order to safely bring energy to market.

“North Dakota is a global energy powerhouse, and our state remains on the cutting-edge of new technologies that will allow our nation to rely on all of its energy resources while improving environmental stewardship,” Hoeven said. “We appreciate Deputy Secretary Brouillette’s commitment to both maintain support for the development of commercially-viable CCUS technologies and again visit North Dakota to learn more about the efforts of the EERC and others. Further, we discussed how we can build and modernize our infrastructure to meet the demands of growing energy production and ensure we can safely transport it to market. Dan will make a great Energy Secretary, and we look forward to advancing his nomination as well as our continued work together on these priorities.”

MAKING CCUS COMMERCIALLY-VIABLE

The hearing aligns with Hoeven’s work to advance commercially-viable CCUS technologies and provide a true path forward for coal. To this end, Hoeven has worked to:

Secure a $9.8 million award for the final design phase of Project Tundra. The senator included this funding in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 appropriations legislation and has secured approximately $26 million to advance Project Tundra to date. Project Tundra is a post-combustion technology to retrofit existing power plants, led by Minnkota Power, the University of North Dakota’s Energy and Environment Research Center (EERC), BNI Coal and Allete Clean Energy.

Modernize the 48A and 45Q tax credits to better support the development of CCUS projects.

Hoeven spoke with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Charles Rettig this week, urging the agency to ensure its final guidance for the 45Q tax credit reflects the difference between geological storage and enhanced oil recovery.

Include support in the Senate’s FY2020 funding legislation for:

The Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership program.

The Carbon Storage Assurance Facility Enterprise (CarbonSAFE) initiative.

DEVELOPING ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE

Hoeven has also advanced efforts to streamline the federal approval proves for energy and infrastructure development. This includes:

Hoeven’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Mineral Spacing Act, which would waive the permit requirement when the federal government controls less than 50 percent of subsurface minerals and there is no federal surface land. 

The bill is also included in the ONSHORE Act, which he introduced with Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) to empower states with the authority to manage oil and gas permitting on federal lands within their borders.

His work with the Department of State to streamline the permitting process for cross-border energy infrastructure projects, like pipelines and electrical transmission lines, similar to his North American Energy Infrastructure Act.

Filling vacant positions at the Dakota Prairie Grasslands offices in order to more quickly process Surface Use Plans of Operations (SUPO).

The senator emphasized this priority with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Chief when he hosted her in North Dakota earlier this year.

Hoeven also including a measure in the Senate’s FY2020 Interior funding legislation, which passed last month, encouraging USFS to hire staff that fill these vacancies under the National Grasslands.