Bill directs study of storage hub

WASHINGTON — A bill directing the Department of Energy to study the national and economic security benefits of a proposed Appalachian Storage Hub was passed out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday.

The Appalachian Energy for National Security Act was sponsored by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., a ranking member of the committee.

“An Appalachian Storage Hub would have immeasurable benefits for the Appalachian region and our country as a whole,” he said. “Not only would it be an economic driver for the region but it would also increase our national and economic energy security.”

With Russia and China leveraging energy resources for political influence, it is more important than ever for the United States to secure energy independence, he said.

“In West Virginia we have been blessed with an abundance of natural resources and are well-suited to provide this energy security for the rest of the nation,” Manchin said.

The committee also passed the Enhancing Fossil Fuel Energy Carbon Technology Act that would direct the Energy Department’s Office of Fossil Energy to establish four new research and development programs on coal and natural gas technology, carbon storage, carbon utilization and carbon removal.

Also passed by the committee was Manchin’s Rare Earth Element Advanced Coal Technology Act for the development of technology capable of extracting rare earth elements from coal and coal byproducts to re-establish a U.S.-based supply chain.