This op-ed was originally published by C3 News Mag on January 22, 2020. Click here to read the entire piece by Rich Powell.
The reality of Democrat majorities in the U.S. Senate and the House is sending a shiver through the Texas oil and gas industry. As the 117th Congress kicks off, energy eyes are on whether President Joe Biden will use these majorities to fulfill the campaign promise that he’ll “phase out fossil fuels.” In his first big signals, he’s revoking the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline and placing a moratorium on all oil and gas-related leasing and permitting actions on federal lands.
The concept of attacking fossil fuels should be completely thrown out the window. It’s not fossil fuels that are the problem, it’s emissions from fossil fuels that are the problem. If we can eliminate or significantly reduce the emissions, there is no reason we couldn’t continue using these resources well into the future, or forever.
We just saw the biggest and best bipartisan clean energy policy in more than a decade pass with the Energy Act of 2020 proving energy policy does not need to be renewable vs fossil. In fact, there is a clean energy policy that could strengthen Texas energy companies, while also significantly lowering carbon dioxide emissions. The policy is known as “45Q.” 45Q is a federal tax incentive that is already leading to cleaner air by increasing capture of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
Since its enactment by a Republican-controlled Congress and President Trump in 2018, there has been positive commercial momentum toward projects on everything from natural gas and coal-fired power plants, cement manufacturing plants, and even a facility that will vacuum one million metric tons of CO2 out of the air in Texas’ Permian Basin. In all, there are more than two dozen carbon capture projects across the country under development – with more coming thanks to the extension passed as part of the recent COVID relief bill.