Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) introduced the Carbon Removal and Emissions Storage Technologies (CREST) Act, legislation that directs the Departments of Energy and Interior to establish new research programs and evaluate the feasibility of carbon removal and storage pathways, quantify the net impact of carbon removal solutions, and establish an innovative pilot reverse auction purchasing program to accelerate carbon removal market commercialization. Senators King (I-ME), Cassidy (R-LA), and Coons (D-DE) are also original cosponsors.
With increasing private and public sector commitments to reach net-zero emissions, companies are seeking ways to invest in quantifiable, durable, and verifiable carbon removal solutions. Despite the increased interest, current cost estimates show that private sector investment alone is unlikely to be sufficient to research and deploy carbon removal pathways. Further research, increased testing, and enhanced public-private partnerships would aid in scaling carbon removal technologies, particularly by leveraging natural carbon removal processes such as reforestation, algae cultivation, and enhanced geological mineralization.
The bipartisan CREST Act is supported by a broad range of organizations and businesses focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Click HERE for statements in support of the CREST Act.
“The effects of climate change are evident across Maine, which has serious implications for the livelihoods of many people across the state,” said Senator Collins. “Reducing the harmful pollutants in our atmosphere that cause climate change requires an all-of-the-above approach. This bipartisan bill would spur research and development for carbon removal technologies, as well as accelerate the commercialization of innovative carbon removal solutions to help make them more affordable.”
“Removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is essential to blunting the impacts of climate change. In other words, just reducing future emissions is no longer enough,” said Senator Cantwell at a recent hearing of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. “So we need to figure out how to remove and trap carbon pollution from the atmosphere in order to avoid more frequent and intense extreme weather … If we allow global warming to reach two degrees Celsius – and we are on track to exceed that level – the Pacific Northwest will suffer from devastating heat waves.”
Title I of the CREST Act builds upon previously authorized carbon removal research and development programs to include carbon removal pathways that can permanently sequester carbon dioxide or use carbon dioxide to produce valuable products such as biofuels and other products. The key areas of focus include:
Title II of the CREST Act creates a pilot carbon removal purchasing program which utilizes an innovative reverse auction mechanism to find the cheapest pathways for carbon removal solutions that meet specified performance metrics.
The CREST Act builds on the Energy Act of 2020, which authorized the first comprehensive federal carbon removal research and development program, and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) which invested $3.6 billion in direct air capture technology. According to a major new report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is essential to meeting international climate goals intended to blunt the worst impacts of climate change. The CREST Act is the latest instance of Senators Collins and Cantwell teaming up to push creative climate change related legislation, a two-decade partnership that includes working with the Government Accountability Office to determine the U.S. Treasury’s exposure to climate change risks and costs, and supporting legislation to study abrupt climate change.
Click HERE for bill text.