House lawmakers introduce legislation to reauthorize DOE Office of Fossil Energy

PDF versionPDF version

May 10, 2018

On May 10, 2018, Representative Marc Veasey (D-TX-33) introduced the Fossil Energy Research and Development Act (H.R. 5745), cosponsored by Representative David McKinley (R-WV-1) and Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX-30). The bill seeks to amend the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. 16291) and the Methane Hydrate Research and Development Act of 2000 (30 U.S.C. 2003b) in order to improve the conversion, use, and storage of carbon dioxide generated through the burning of fossil fuels, which can reduce carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere.

Specifically, the Fossil Energy Research and Development Act would reauthorize the Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy for the first time in over a decade to expand research on new carbon capture, sequestration, and utilization technologies. It authorizes $825 million for fiscal year (FY) 2019, with slight funding increases each year through FY 2023, for these research expansions. The bill requests additional research funding for the prevention, monitoring, detection, and mitigation of methane leaks as an effort to reduce emissions. It also outlines numerous pilot programs involving collaborations with private industry, state and local government organizations, and academic institutions to accomplish these goals.

Additionally, the Fossil Energy Research and Development Act would repeal the Clean Coal Power Initiative (CCPI), with the intent to focus federal resources on the new research objectives and programs mentioned above. The CCPI was initiated in 2002 and authorized in the Energy Policy Act of 2005; as of mid-2018, the program has completed four out of eighteen projects proposed since its inception. The program supports projects that seek to reduce coal-fired power plant emissions, such as the joint Petra Nova venture between NRG Energy Inc. and JX Nippon Oil and Gas Exploration in Thompsons, Texas. This project captures a portion of the carbon dioxide emitted by a coal-fired power plant; the carbon dioxide is then transported to a nearby oilfield where it is injected underground to enhance oil production.

This bill was referred to the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, in addition to the Committees on Energy and Commerce, and Transportation and Infrastructure, for consideration of its provisions as they fall within the jurisdiction of each of the committees concerned.

Sources: Cornell Law; E&E News; Library of Congress; U.S. Department of Energy; U.S. Government Publishing Office; U.S. House of Representatives.