Cassidy Leads Bipartisan Group Urging Biden to Implement Grant Program in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law as Congress Intended
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and nine colleagues today urged the Department of Energy (DOE) to implement the Direct Air Capture (DAC) Hub Program established under the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act the way Congress intended. Currently, DOE is imposing onerous, one-size-fits-all requirements on grant applicants, limiting the program's ability to work. Cassidy was joined by U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Mitt Romney (R-UT), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Susan Collins (R-ME), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), and Rob Portman (R-OH).
“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.
“[W]e ask that the Department fulfill the intent of the legislation by considering the adjustments requested in this letter,” continued the senators.
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Dear Secretary Granholm:
We write in support of Direct Air Capture (DAC) Technologies, the Direct Air Capture Hub Program established under the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), and Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) research and development broadly. We have some concerns, however, with the Notice of Intent (NOI) to issue a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) released by the Department of Energy regarding implementation of the Direct Air Capture Hub program.
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 CDR and point source carbon capture enabled by the hub model.
We also encourage the Department to approach each application for hub participation on its own merits. As such, within the multiple timelines for funding defined in the NOI, we ask that the Department work with individual applicants to establish milestones related to Front-end Engineering and Design (FEED) Studies, permitting, and other requirements in a manner tailored to the applicant. The Department should not require each applicant to reach the same stage of progress before down-selecting to a smaller subset of applicants.
Finally, the IIJA requires that the carbon dioxide captured as a result of the development of a DAC hub be sequestered or utilized but does not define eligible use cases or forms of sequestration as a part of the Program. Congress did so because of the nascent nature of DAC technologies and the need to provide the flexibility that private developers need to gain value from investment in DAC, including to deploy first-of-its-kind technology at scale. Applicants should not be subject to requirements that would limit the revenue derived from utilization or sequestration of carbon dioxide that results in secure and permanent geologic storage or successful embodiment in products.
We appreciate the Department’s efforts to advance DAC and the broader suite of CDR technologies. We are encouraged by the Department’s actions to quickly implement the DAC Hub Program authorized in IIJA. However, we ask that the Department fulfill the intent of the legislation by considering the adjustments requested in this letter.
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