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Wrapping Up CERAWeek, DOE Announces $6 Billion in Industrial Emissions Reductions Projects

Analysis by Energy Workforce President Tim Tarpley

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Energy Workforce President Tim Tarpley

On Monday, March 25, 2024, the US Department of Energy announced $6 billion in federal funding to subsidize 33 industrial projects in 20 states with the intention of cutting carbon emissions. According to the Secretary of Energy, these projects would be the largest direct carbon reduction in US history as including the company’s share of the total cost, the investment would total $20 billion. If all the projects are developed as planned, they would be expected to eliminate 14 million metric tons of pollution each year. The majority of this funding will come from the existing Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure funding. The release is timed to come as the election season is beginning to ramp up and appears to be designed for President Biden to have a variety of projects in diverse geographic areas to have to discuss on the campaign trail. There are a number of announced projects that are worth noting: 

  • $332 million for Exxon Mobil’s hydrogen project in Baytown, funding will be used to halve the plan’s overall emissions and avoid 2.5 million metric tons of carbon emissions per year.
  • Eastman Chemical Co- $375 million to develop a new kind of chemical recycling facility in Longview that would use polyester and other products that are typically landfilled or incinerated to make polyethylene terephthalate, a material used in packaging, films and fibers.
  • $100 million to an Orsted subsidiary planning a Gulf Coast facility that would use captured carbon dioxide from smokestacks rather than natural gas to make methanol, reducing the carbon footprint by 80% compared with traditional methods and creating 50 permanent jobs.
  • $200 million to Technip Stone & Webster Process Technology, which would use captured carbon dioxide from ethylene production to create clean ethanol and ethylene. The Gulf Coast facility would create 40 permanent jobs.
  • $75 million to BASF for a project at its Freeport facility that would replace natural gas-fired incineration with plasma and renewable power to separate gases. 
  • Dow Chemical will receive up to $95 million for a U.S. Gulf Coast facility to use approximately 100,000 tons of CO2 annually to produce key components of electrolyte solutions needed for electric vehicle batteries.

House Energy Week wraps up, legislation passes with strong bipartisan margins

The House of Representatives completed its “energy week” last week and two bills that have been supported by Energy Workforce passed with strong bipartisan support. The first, H.R. 1121, the “Protecting American Energy Production Act”, which would prohibit an executive branch moratorium on hydraulic fracturing passed in a 229-188 vote with 15 democrats crossing the aisle to vote in support of that measure. As the bill will likely die in the Senate, the number of democrats supporting is actually more important than the bill passage itself. While there is no real effort to prohibit hydraulic fracturing at the federal level currently, such an action could be considered in a different political climate depending on the results of the 2024 election, so this action is important to send a message that there is currently strong bipartisan opposition against any such action. It is important to remember that during President Biden’s 2020 campaign, he stated that he wanted to stop new drilling, including fracking, on publicly owned lands and waters, so there is certainly a threat that such an agenda could be restarted in a potential 2nd term.

Similarly, the House passed H.R. 6009, “Restoring American Energy Dominance Act,” which would repeal a BLM rule that increases the money oil companies must pay before they can drill on public lands. This measure passed 216-200, with three Democrats crossing the aisle to support it.

Passing legislation has become increasingly difficult in recent weeks as Rep. Mike Gallagher from Wisconsin just announced that he will be retiring from Congress on April 19th. This is on top of the recent announcement by Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado a few weeks back. House Republicans now can only afford to lose one vote assuming all members are in the chamber on any given vote. This math puts tremendous pressure on Speaker Johnson to pass anything of subsidence through the chamber and also to hold on to his job. Right before leaving for Easter break, Georgia Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene introduced a motion to vacate for speaker Johnson in response to his use of democratic votes to pass a spending package. This motion will be dealt with when the chamber gets back the week after Easter; she can either withdraw the motion or take it to the House floor for a vote.

Tim Tarpley, Energy Workforce President, analyzes federal policy for the Energy Workforce & Technology Council. Click here to subscribe to the Energy Workforce newsletter, which highlights sector-specific issues, best practices, activities and more.



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