Lawmaker Ro Khanna introduced a bill that suggests denying investors carbon credits if they intend to use carbon capture for enhanced oil recovery.
The bill was introduced on Monday into the US House of Representatives, and while its chances of being adopted into law are dismal, the bill itself is indicative of the strong political divisions in Congress on the subject of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology.
These divisions have to do not only with how carbon capture should be used but whether its use is at all justified in the context of tackling climate change.
At present, the tax credit, known as 45Q, is designed in a way that allows companies to earn money for every ton of CO2 captured from industrial emitters and stored deep underground.
But it also includes CO2 emissions that are injected into oil fields as a means of pushing oil out – a process known as enhanced oil recovery (EOR).
Khanna’s bill proposes a change to the 45Q tax credit, making it impossible for any credit to go towards EOR.
According to environmentalists, providing credits for oil recovery defeats the purpose of carbon capture technology, as it will only help the carbon-intensive fossil fuels industry prosper.
And according to data published by the Global CCS Institute, the overwhelming majority (95%) of carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects in the United States are used exactly for enhanced oil recovery.
Khanna argues that if EOR is only going to increase the amount of CO2 emissions, the government should not be subsidizing it.
So far, the bill titled End Polluter Welfare for Enhanced Oil Recovery Act has gained the support of 20 green groups, among which are the Sierra Club, Sunrise Movement and Food & Water Watch; and Khanna’s hopes are for it to be adopted into the Senate’s version of the Build Back Better Act (BBBA).