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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Barrasso, (R-Wyo.) and Senator Jeff Bingaman, (D-NM), have introduced a bi-partisan bill focusing on clean air technology. The bill encourages technology that will remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and permanently sequester it.

The Carbon Dioxide Capture Technology Act, S.2744, will establish an award system for scientists and researchers. 

Historically, prizes have been used to spur all types of technological development to solve problems. For example, Charles Lindbergh was competing for the Orteig Prize, when he flew in the Spirit of St. Louis, non-stop from New York to Paris in 1927.

“Our proposal takes a fresh look at climate change,” Barrasso said. “We want to remove carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere. The bill taps into American ingenuity and innovation. It recognizes the need to develop the technological solutions needed to address climate change. It makes sense that we explore alternative approaches for removing and permanently sequestering excess carbon dioxide. With financial awards, we can encourage the extraordinary breakthroughs needed to tackle this problem.” Senator Barrasso introduced similar legislation last year. The Carbon Dioxide Capture Technology Act is a new, bi-partisan version of that legislation.

“A bi-partisan solution is needed to reduce carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere.  I commend Senator Bingaman’s willingness to work across the aisle to find solutions.”

Senator Bingaman is Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, where the bill has been referred.

"If we could capture carbon dioxide emitted by low-concentration sources, or even the atmosphere, it would be a major step toward a cleaner energy future,” said Sen. Jeff Bingaman, chairman of the Senate Energy Committee.  “A federal prize to inspire inventive solutions to this technical challenge could help us get there quicker. That’s why I’m backing Senator Barrasso’s bill.”

The program would be established by a federal commission under the Department of Energy. Commission members, appointed by the President, would be comprised of climate scientists, physicists, chemists, engineers, business managers and economists.

Awards will go to public and private entities that design technology to remove and permanently sequester carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere.

Once the technology is developed, the United States would share the intellectual property rights with the inventor.