West Virginia shows strong bipartisan support for the Storing Carbon Dioxide and Lowering Emissions (SCALE) Act
West Virginia is setting a sustainable example for the rest of the United States by showing strong bipartisan support for the Storing Carbon Dioxide and Lowering Emissions (SCALE) Act. This bill helps develop infrastructure to transport carbon dioxide from where it’s captured to a new location for re-use or storage. Carbon capture plays a vital role in America’s goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, and the availability of carbon dioxide transport infrastructure is critical to driving investments in carbon capture technologies. It is particularly important in West Virginia, a state where coal still plays a major role in the economy and electric generation. By embracing the SCALE Act, the Mountain State is showing there are ways to keep coal in the energy mix amid the country’s shift away from fossil fuels and toward reducing emissions.
The broad support from West Virginia’s congressional delegation is indicative of the bill’s importance on the road to a cleaner economic recovery, which includes the potential to bring many new jobs to the region. The bill was introduced just weeks ago by a coalition of nine legislators including the state’s Senators Joe Manchin, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Shelley Moore Capito, a top-ranking Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
“This is a commonsense, win-win bill that will help lower carbon emissions and create jobs through the construction of pipelines,” Capito said.
“Measures like these will push our clean energy objectives forward while supporting thousands of clean energy, infrastructure, and manufacturing jobs across the country, including in traditional energy-producing communities like those in West Virginia,” Manchin added.
Capturing, removing, and storing carbon is a hugely important component in the battle to slow a changing climate. Capture and removal is the pairing of technologies that reduces emissions and removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in a way that balances out tougher emissions. With the SCALE Act, captured carbon dioxide could be sent to be used as feedstock for the manufacture of other products, to oilfields where it is injected to enhance oil recovery, or to safe, underground storage locations. The act would also establish a program to provide flexible, low-interest loans for such infrastructure projects, and grants for initial excess capacity to encourage future growth. Additionally, it would increase Environmental Protection Agency funding for permitting carbon storage wells and provide grants for states to establish their own permitting programs in addition to grants to state and local governments to get carbon use products for infrastructure projects. Numerous national groups support the bill, including the Clean Air Task Force, the United Steelworkers, the National Wildlife Federation, and the AFL-CIO.The SCALE Act capitalizes on a new trend seen over the past year: captured carbon dioxide is proving to be incredibly useful in commercial, agriculture, and municipal water applications. It’s quickly becoming a vital part of the United States’ supply chain and a shortage would be problematic. With the SCALE Act, such shortages would be curtailed by a major expansion of interstate pipelines and geologic storage hubs nationwide. With such strong support from West Virginia, a state that has struggled with fossil fuel emissions and past environmental issues, the bill is likely to be supported by many others in an effort necessary for the mass deployment of carbon capture technology across the country.