The White House Council on Environmental Quality recently announced
that WVU College of Law Professor Jesse Richardson has been appointed to a new task
force on responsible development of carbon management technologies. He will be
part of a group providing recommendations to the federal government on Carbon
Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration (CCUS) projects, including carbon
dioxide pipelines. Richardson and the task force will ensure that projects are
permitted efficiently and with the input of a wide range of stakeholders.
According to Richardson, CCUS projects capture carbon instead of allowing it to be released into the atmosphere, potentially cutting pollution.
“We’re trying to reduce carbon to the maximum extent possible but when we can’t, let’s make lemonade out of lemons and see what we can do to capture it and use it to minimize the environmental impact,” Richardson said.
Richardson said West Virginia is a national CCUS leader, in part because of state legislation passed last year that clarifies property rights. He said his position on the White House task force will benefit the state because as part of the prestigious group, he will make valuable connections that could lead to investment in the state.
“This is a group of all-stars, so for me to be able to interact and make connections so that we can collaborate on projects could be great for West Virginia,” he said.
Richardson has been working with Sam Taylor of the WVU Energy Institute on CCUS-related projects for several years, and the two co-authored a multistate carbon policy study. Taylor said Richardson is the perfect choice to represent West Virginia on the high-profile task force.
“He understands the nuance in these questions and has his eye on what each step means for people who live here,” Taylor said.
The task force will begin meeting soon and then will make recommendations to the federal government on future CCUS projects. He hopes that with West Virginia’s head start in the CCUS arena and his role on the panel, these projects could not only help the country meet climate change goals but also boost the economy of West Virginia.
“If we can get the infrastructure here in the state, we could employ many West Virginians and benefit the state economy,’ he said.