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Beyer, DelBene Introduce Direct Air Capture Legislation

September 10, 2021 (Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Representatives Don Beyer (D-VA) and Suzan DelBene (D-WA) today introduced the Negate Emissions to Zero (NET Zero) Act, legislation that would substantially increase tax incentives to boost the developing direct air capture industry. Beyer and DelBene serve on the House Committee on Ways and Means, which has jurisdiction over tax policy in the House of Representatives, and which is currently writing clean energy tax incentive provisions of the Build Back Better Act.

“The climate crisis becomes more deadly and costly every year, and we are at a pivotal moment when Congress must take bold action to protect the country and the world,” said Beyer. “As a longtime member of the House Science Committee, I have heard again and again from scientists about the importance of complementing the shift to clean energy sources with the development of technology that can remove carbon pollution and other dangerous emissions directly from the air. Today I am working with my colleagues on the Ways and Means Committee to hasten that development using tax incentives, which have already proven crucial to efforts to scale up clean technologies and create green jobs. So much depends on Congress getting climate policies right, and we hope and believe direct air capture can someday make a big difference.”

“Climate change is an existential threat to our nation and our planet. Studies consistently show that reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a critical step but alone cannot solve the climate crisis,” said DelBene. “We also need to expand our ability to directly remove carbon from the atmosphere. The United States has a unique opportunity to be a global leader on this technology. This legislation is key to expanding our capacity domestically and creating thousands of high-skilled American jobs.”

Direct Air Capture (DAC) is a technology that that captures carbon dioxide from the atmosphere which can then be stored deep underground or used in the production of fuels, building materials, or other products that contain carbon dioxide. The National Academies of Science estimate that even assuming very ambitious emissions-reduction efforts, globally, 10 billion tons of excess carbon dioxide will need be removed per year by 2050, and 20 billion tons annually by 2100. In the United States, about 1 billion tons of carbon dioxide must be captured and stored underground per year by 2050 to help prevent global temperatures from rising to 1.5 degrees Celsius, according to a report by the Rhodium Group.

The NET Zero Act would allow a DAC to saline storage credit at $180/ton and a DAC to EOR credit at $130/ton. The legislation extends the 45Q tax credit for DAC to saline permanently while the DAC to EOR credit sunsets after 10 years. As additional DAC plants come online, the tax credits for DAC to EOR facilities can be allowed to expire and costs will decline for DAC to saline storage sites.

Text of the NET Zero Act is available here.