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Breaking news: Obama forms task force to speed CCS

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IMPORTANT UPDATES … See below for President’s announcement

President Obama is set to meet in about a half-hour with about a dozen governors from key energy-producing states, including West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin.

My sources tell me to expect the president to announce the formation of a new task force aimed at speeding up the development and deployment of carbon capture and storage technology for coal-fired and other fossil fuel power plants. The task force would be chaired by the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Two months ago, the Obama administration’s Department of Energy announced it was pumping $334 million in federal stimulus dollars into American Electric Power’s CCS project at the Mountaineer Power Plant in Mason County, W.Va.  And in his budget proposal submitted to Congress earlier this week, Obama proposed $545 million for development of CCS technologies.

Of course, there are many questions and challenges facing CCS, but many experts believe it’s the coal industry’s best chance to survive limits on greenhouse gases.


Here’s a link to the president’s announcement on CCS:

For decades, the coal industry has supported quality high-paying jobs for American workers, and coal has provided an important domestic source of reliable, affordable energy.  At the same time, coal-fired power plants are the largest contributor to U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and coal accounts for 40 percent of global emissions.  Charting a path toward clean coal is essential to achieving my Administration’s goals of providing clean energy, supporting American jobs, and reducing emissions of carbon pollution.  Rapid commercial development and deployment of clean coal technologies, particularly carbon capture and storage (CCS), will help position the United States as a leader in the global clean energy race.

To further this work and develop a comprehensive and coordinated Federal strategy to speed the commercial development and deployment of clean coal technologies, I hereby establish an Interagency Task Force on Carbon Capture and Storage (Task Force).  You shall each designate a senior official from your respective agency to serve on the Task Force, which shall be Co Chaired by the designees from the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Task Force shall develop within 180 days of the date of this memorandum a proposed plan to overcome the barriers to the widespread, cost-effective deployment of CCS within 10 years, with a goal of bringing 5 to 10 commercial demonstration projects online by 2016.  The plan should explore incentives for commercial CCS adoption and address any financial, economic, technological, legal, institutional, social, or other barriers to deployment.  The Task Force should consider how best to coordinate existing administrative authorities and programs, including those that build international collaboration on CCS, as well as identify areas where additional administrative authority may be necessary.  The Co Chairs shall report progress periodically to the President through the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality.

And here’s some audio of a telephone press conference held this afternoon

And some audio of Gov. Manchin’s press call later in the afternoon