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Department of Energy

Bipartisan Coalition Pushes DOE to Stop "Giveaways" to Carbon Capture Facility

Today, the Texas Clean Energy Project, a long-troubled carbon capture and sequestration facility planned for Penwell, Texas, faces the expiration of its cooperative agreement with the Department of Energy. Green Scissors, a coalition of free market, taxpayer, and environmental groups dedicated to eliminating government waste that is harmful to the environment, has demanded that the Department of Energy permanently withdraw funding from the facility.

A recent Special Report from the Department of Energy’s own Inspector General highlights improprieties in how federal funds were spent on the project. Although a total of $450 million was allocated for it, the Department of Energy established caps for how much could be spent in each of the project’s four stages. However, the Special Report reveals that the Department of Energy broke its own rules, spending over $100 million ahead of schedule, all while the project was stalled in the initial design stage and unable to secure financing.

Although the Department of Energy made the decision in February to suspend funding, by extending the project’s cooperative agreement to May 13, the Department left open the possibility of future outlays to the Texas facility. There is still another $220 million earmarked for the project, funds that Green Scissors recently called on Secretary Moniz to permanently withdraw.

Leaders in the Field React

“This administration has prioritized an elusive breakthrough in developing carbon capture and sequestration over their commitment to the taxpayer. A successful innovation strategy is driven by filling the basic research gaps the market can't meet, not chasing preordained solutions with wasteful spending,” said Catrina Rorke, director of energy policy at the R Street Institute.

Autumn Hanna“It’s time for DOE to stop bending over backwards to accommodate this flailing project,” said Autumn Hanna, senior program director at Taxpayers for Common Sense. “Taxpayers have already lost $116 million, and the absolute least DOE can do is learn from their costly mistakes and prevent taxpayers from losing more after Summit misses its deadline this Friday.”

“Wasting our tax dollars on projects like the Texas boondoggle is not the answer to the climate crisis,” said Lukas Ross, climate and energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth. “Secretary Moniz needs to pull the plug before this false solution gets more of our money.”

The Green Scissors coalition has consistently opposed subsidies for CCS on fiscal and environmental grounds. This includes stimulus funding for struggling facilities like FutureGen 2.0 and Hydrogen Energy California as well as ongoing efforts to extend and expand tax credits for capturing CO2.