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Collins, Cantwell Team Up to Boost Carbon Removal Solutions

Bipartisan proposal focuses on ways to harness natural processes to remove and store carbon pollution using geological, biobased, and ocean reservoirs

Scientists now agree that large scale carbon removal will be required to avoid the worst impacts of climate change


Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) today 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.


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 including ClearPath Action, Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, Bipartisan Policy Center Action, Biomass Power Association, the Carbon Business Council, the Evangelical Environmental Network, Running Tide, Stripe, and Vesta.  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.  Our 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.”

“We need to use every tool at our disposal to try and protect Washingtonians from the worst impacts of climate change,” said Senator Cantwell.  “Harnessing the power and ingenuity of Mother Nature to remove and permanently store carbon pollution will help us reach critical net-zero emission reduction goals while creating new economic opportunities.”   

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:


  • Biomass Carbon Removal. Expands the scope of DOE’s current carbon capture research to include biological carbon removal from terrestrial and aquatic sources using techniques such as algae cultivation, soil enhancements, and enhanced photosynthesis and root growth.  The bill also establishes an initiative on developing new feed and fuel products from carbon dioxide.


  • Geological Carbon Removal. Spurs research, experiments, and pilot programs for conducting carbon mineralization that can trap carbon dioxide in solid form. Authorized activities include field experiments to determine the carbon removal potential of broadcasting reactive minerals on soils and beaches, injecting reactive formulations in subsurface formations, and reusing industrial slags and mine tailings in manufacturing. The CREST Act would also direct the Interior Department to conduct a national assessment of locations and available quantities of suitable reactive minerals.


  • Aquatic Carbon Removal. Encourages DOE to pursue ocean carbon removal pathways such as blue carbon management, which focuses on coastal and marine biomass, as well as direct ocean capture, which directly removes carbon dioxide from the oceans through engineered or inorganic processes. The CREST Act would also establish a program that monitors, researches, and models the ecological impacts of ocean carbon dioxide removal and storage techniques. The bill also directs DOE to produce a report on the offshore capacity for deep sea carbon storage through activities such as sinking biomass.


  • Atmospheric Carbon Removal. Directs DOE to research, develop, and demonstrate manufacturing techniques for direct air capture technologies.


  • Carbon Removal Quantification. Provides grant funding to entities who are seeking financial assistance to complete a life-cycle analysis of their emissions.


Title II of the CREST Act creates a pilot carbon removal purchasing program which utilizes an innovative reverse auction mechanism to find the least cost pathways for domestic carbon removal solutions meeting 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 the CLEAR Act, their pioneering cap-and-dividend bill, 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 summary.


Click HERE for bill text.



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