Biden Administration Announces $6 Billion To Slash Emissions From Worst-Polluting Industries

hollandfence_3zmsih

The Biden administration on Monday announced it will distribute up to $6 billion to curb planet-warming emissions in some of America’s most polluting industries, including chemical, metal and cement operations.

The awards, which the administration called the “largest investment in industrial decarbonization in American history,” are aimed at both advancing the administration’s climate goals and boosting domestic manufacturing.

Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm told reporters the investments target technologies that are scalable and will “set a new gold standard for clear clean manufacturing in the United States and around the world.”

“Put simply, this is good for our planet, it’s good for our economy, it’s good for our workers,” she said.

A total of 33 projects in more than 20 states are slated to receive federal funding, ranging from $20 million to $500 million. The administration expects to leverage an additional $14 billion in private-sector investment.

“These projects offer solutions to slash emissions in some of the highest emitting sectors of our economy, including iron and steel, aluminum, cement, concrete, chemicals, food and beverages, pulp and paper,” Granholm said. “Together, these industries make up roughly a third of our CO2 emissions of our carbon footprint. The projects that we’ve selected promise to make a significant dent in those emissions.”

Together, the 33 projects could eliminate 14 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually — equivalent to that of 3 million vehicles — and create tens of thousands of jobs, according to the administration.

A Cleveland-Cliffs steel plant in Riverdale, Illinois, is pictured in February 2023. The company was selected to receive federal funds to decarbonize operations at one of its facilities in Middletown, Ohio.

Chicago Tribune via Getty Images

In Middletown, Ohio, Cleveland-Cliffs Steel will receive up to $500 million to swap out one of its blast furnaces for two electric furnaces, which is expected to reduce the facility’s greenhouse gas emissions by 1 million tons per year. In Lebec, California, the National Cement Co. of California will put $500 million in federal funds toward the production of carbon-neutral cement using biomass from agricultural byproducts like pistachio shells. And in Mansfield, Louisiana, the International Paper Co. will receive $46 million to use a new chemical separation technology to reduce emissions during pulp production.

During the application process, the Department of Energy received a total 411 concept papers requesting more than $60 billion in federal funds for energy efficiency projects, according to a senior Biden administration official. The $6 billion that’s being distributed includes $5.47 billion from the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act and $489 million from the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure law.

Ali Zaidi, the White House national climate adviser, told reporters that the investments are a “massive deal” not only in the fight against climate change, but for environmental justice, noting that 79% of the projects are in disadvantaged communities.

“This is part of a government-wide strategy that looks at the industrial sector — the president often says, ‘When I think of climate, I see jobs’ — and sees both the climate opportunity and the massive jobs opportunity,” Zaidi told reporters. “Today’s historic announcement is a big step in that direction, both here for the United States of America but, frankly, for everybody around the world chasing a better future.”