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Texas research institutes will receive the largest chunk of a $21.3 million three-year grant from the Department of Energy, which is intended to develop ways to store CO2 underground in an effort to mitigate climate change, Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy James Markowsky announced Wednesday.
The University of Texas at Austin and Fusion Petroleum Technologies, Inc. in The Woodlands will receive $2.2 million in funding to research new ways to store CO2 — a greenhouse gas that scientists say leads to climate change — in underground wells.
Texas research institutes received three of the 15 grants awarded across the country, the most of any state. Roughly $1.4 million will go towards two projects at UT Austin, and $780,000 will go to Fusion Petroleum Technologies.
“The projects announced today are part of this Administration’s commitment to leading the world in carbon capture and storage technology,” DoE Secretary Steven Chu said in a press release. “These projects will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, develop clean energy innovation and help produce jobs for Americans across the nation.”
This post was written by Jennifer Dlouhy of the Washington bureau
Lawmakers from Texas are playing a high-profile role today as the House debates a broad energy bill inspired by the Deepwater Horizon disaster. For the Texans, the legislation strikes close to home (and to their constituents back home) by making major changes to the laws governing offshore drilling and responding to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Here is a sampling of their comments on the House floor today:
Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas:
“This bill is a thinly disguised permanent roadblock to American energy. It will drive american companies out of the Gulf, delay future drilling, increase dependence on foreign oil, kill 300,000 good-paying U.S. energy jobs, levy a new $22 billion tax on American energy but not on foreign oil.”
“It includes a protectionist measure that the White House itself is troubled about, that invites retaliation, that will kill jobs.”
“This is a choice between american energy workers and foreign oil. No Texas lawmaker — no Gulf state lawmaker — can support this bill and say they truly care about energy workers jobs in America.”
Rep. Gene Green, D-Texas:
Diana Carlton/Hearst Newspapers
Rep. Gene Green
“It will kill jobs and increase our reliance on foreign oil and has become a vehicle for controversial and extraneous provisions that do not address the issue at hand: the safety of our offshore oil and gas production.”
“I strongly support making production safer and cleaner, whether it’s offshore or on land or in our industrial facilities. (I have) no question at all about unlimited liability on the responsible party for environmental cleanups. But this bill goes so far that it would make it (liability) unlimited for economic damage.”
“It puts at serious risk the competitiveness of the Gulf of Mexico.”
“Effective legislation could have been achieved that would ensure continued development of the Gulf resources.”
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas:
Eddie Bernice Johnson
“While this legislation cannot stem the oil that continues to gush into the Gulf of Mexico, it takes solid strides forward to preventing an event from occurring in the future.”
“As a Congress, it is our duty to look forward and ensure we have protections in place for future similar spills in these deep-water areas. We also need to review the current oil and gas regulations and ensure that we have safe environmental protections in place for all types of offshore and onshore operations and facilities.”
“This will help to make sure we are better prepared going forward.”
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas:
Diana Carlton/Hearst Newspapers
“It’s going to cause more people to lose jobs.”
“At a time when we’re billions of dollars behind on what we need to spend to keep our parks on federal land that’s owned right now, this bill irresponsibly adds $900 million per year for 30 years (for park land purchases). It’s not enough that we’re going to put children for generations in debt, now we’re going to keep spending money that they don’t want spent.”
“Please, for goodness sake, let’s stop the bleeding, and, in this case, the gushing force of this nation’s blood and its tax dollars, and vote this down.”
Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas:
Rep. Joe Barton
“I’m not opposed to improving safety and regulation in the OCS, but I do want OCS drilling to continue.”
“In my opinion, with the taxes in this bill, with the punitive nature of this bill, if it were to pass and become law, we would not have OCS drillin
Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, urged President Barack Obama to reconsider the new moratorium on offshore drilling in a letter Monday, saying the ban is impacting the economy in Texas.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar reinstated a moratorium on drilling Monday, however unlike the last moratorium which banned drilling in water deeper than 500 feet, the new moratorium does not mention water depths.
Though Brady said the Deepwater Horizon explosion has had a “tragic impact” on the Gulf, he said in his letter that the “uncertainty surrounding pending drilling moratoriums and regulations are creating an economic disaster on top of an environmental disaster.”
According to Brady, the moratorium caused one company to lay off 20 percent of its workers, and he urged Obama to visit Houston to meet those affected by his drilling ban.
Below is the letter Brady sent to Obama Monday.
Other Texas Congressional leaders are responding to the moratorium as well.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas
“The Administration’s latest drilling moratorium is even more restrictive and could affect shallow water drilling as well. The Obama Administration is disregarding the federal court’s ruling that the basis for a moratorium is unfounded. We need to ensure that all safety and environmental standards and regulations are met, but this moratorium does not accomplish that. It will cripple the economies of many Gulf Coast communities by moving more good American jobs overseas. There is no moratorium on America’s need for energy to heat and cool our homes and businesses; to fuel our cars, buses, trucks, planes and trains; to keep our industries operating. Energy is a key economic driver and the Obama Administration’s continued moratorium on our domestic production will move America to increased dependence on foreign sources, will increase the price of fuel, and send our jobs and our money overseas.”
Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas
“The only plan we’ve seen from the fedel government is put the offshore industry out of business,” Poe said. “That will do nothing to contain the oil and clean up the mess.” Poe said the administration was “spending more time in the courtrooms than they are coming up with” ways to stop the BP oil spill.
Rep. Pete Olson, R-Texas
Called the new moratorium “senseless.”
“Two separate federal court reviews of the previous ban demonstrated the federal government did not have sufficient evidence to support such a ban,” Olson said. “The administration’s continued resistance to common sense safety in offshore drilling is baffling. Real jobs and energy production are at stake. Magnifying the economic pain already impacting the Gulf Coast due to the oil spill makes no sense.”