Biden Administration Announces New Initiatives to Incentivize Clean Manufacturing

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On February 15, the White House announced initiatives focused on a "cleaner" industrial sector in the United States. A fact sheet detailing the announcement highlights federal agency actions relating to what the White House describes as clean energy, efficiency upgrades, and other technologies to reduce emissions.

The fact sheet highlights initiatives for reducing greenhouse gas emissions through carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS). An important part of the announcement is the White House Council on Environmental Quality's (CEQ) new guidance on the deployment of CCUS technologies that builds on a June 2021 report on CCUS issued by CEQ. To support this effort, the Environmental Protection Agency will develop proposed rule revisions to strengthen the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program with respect to CCUS activities, and the Department of the Interior will establish safeguards for geologic sequestration on federal lands.

Additionally, the White House's announcement focuses on what the fact sheet characterizes as decarbonization research, clean technologies, low-carbon materials, and carbon-based trade policies. A number of initiatives that the White House announced concern what the fact sheet describes as clean hydrogen. These initiatives include:

  • $8 billion to develop regional hubs to advance the production, processing, delivery, storage, and end-use of clean hydrogen, including innovative uses in the industrial sector;
  • $1 billion for a hydrogen electrolysis research, development, demonstration and commercialization program to support hydrogen production using electricity from solar, wind and nuclear energy sources; and
  • $500 million for clean hydrogen equipment manufacturing and the reuse and recycling of clean hydrogen technologies.

The fact sheet describes low-carbon materials as construction materials with lower emissions and pollutants across their lifecycles. The White House announcement highlights efforts to incentivize the use of these materials involving several federal agencies. These efforts generally seek to leverage the federal government’s purchasing power. For example:

  • the CEQ and White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy will launch a Buy Clean Task Force to promote the use of low-carbon materials;
  • the General Services Administration and the Department of Transportation will promote the use of low-carbon materials in federally funded construction projects; and
  • the State Department and US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate will work with corporate purchasers in sectors such as steel, shipping, trucking, aviation, aluminum, cement, chemicals and carbon removal with an aim to help to secure purchasing commitments and thereby drive demand for low-carbon materials and technologies.

In addition to the funding initiatives, the White House announcement describes advancing carbon-based trade policies. This includes policies to reward American manufacturers of clean steel and aluminum, and working with the European Union to align global trade with climate goals.

The White House and Department of Energy will also launch new research and advisory programs to help inform and guide the administration's strategy in advancing a cleaner manufacturing sector.

The announcement also addresses certain other priorities of the Biden-Harris Administration—namely, the promotion of environmental justice, and the creation of equitable, union-supported job opportunities in manufacturing. The fact sheet highlights anticipated benefits to the environment and public health as well as job creation and other economic opportunities associated with the initiatives. The White House announcement emphasizes the industrial sector is currently responsible for nearly a third of domestic greenhouse gas emissions. The initiatives announced are intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the industrial and manufacturing sectors while also growing the economy and creating new jobs in these sectors.

 

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