Sen. Collins urging DOE to implement direct air capture program as intended

Published on July 26, 2022 by Dave Kovaleski

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A group of senators, led by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), is urging the Department of Energy (DOE) to implement the Direct Air Capture (DAC) Hub Program as it was intended when it was established under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

Currently, the senators said the DOE is imposing “onerous, one-size-fits-all” requirements on grant applicants, which limits the program’s effectiveness.

“While each of us supports a broad suite of CDR technologies, Congress established the DAC Hub Program to advance specifically the deployment of DAC Technologies, or mechanized direct air capture technologies that capture carbon dioxide from ambient air. Congress designed this program to assist in deploying and bringing down the long-term cost of DAC. For this reason, we encourage the Department to implement the Direct Air Capture Program in accordance with congressional intent. Doing so will still support other forms of Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) and point source carbon capture enabled by the hub model,” wrote the senators to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.

In addition to Collins, the letter was signed by U.S. Sens. Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Mitt Romney (R-UT), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), and Rob Portman (R-OH).

Direct air capture technologies extract CO2 directly from the atmosphere.

“[W]e ask that the Department fulfill the intent of the legislation by considering the adjustments requested in this letter,” the senators continued.

In June, Collins and U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) introduced the Carbon Removal and Emissions Storage Technologies (CREST) Act, which directs the DOE and the Department of the Interior to establish new research programs and evaluate the feasibility of carbon removal and storage pathways.