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Direct air capture pact gets bipartisan backing

Wyoming’s Republican governor and Colorado’s Democratic governor come together to develop regional direct air capture technology.

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Image via Shutterstock/nyker

The governors of Wyoming and Colorado are partnering on direct air capture technology.

Announced last week during the Western Governors’ Association meeting in Boulder, Colo., the memorandum of understanding, signed by Govs. Mark Gordon (R-Wyo.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.), sets the stage for interstate collaboration on the further development of direct air capture technology (DAC), or the capturing of carbon dioxide from ambient air. 

The memorandum highlights the future benefits of such a collaboration as "the potential to advance the interests of Colorado and Wyoming in achieving reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and increasing jobs and economic development."

In a statement accompanying the announcement, Gordon said, "This agreement focuses on working together on the most important questions related to [direct air capture], including measurement standards that work to create more transparency in markets and benefits to communities."

Wyoming’s accessible permanent geologic storage and existing infrastructure and Colorado’s developing policy environment to "evaluate the regulatory, economic, technological, and research opportunities in the carbon dioxide removal and direct air capture area," are cited as driving forces behind the partnership.

The memorandum is merely a formal declaration of the new partnership and therefore sparse on implementation details. But language within the document sheds some light on how the two states will proceed. A goal to encourage development of "early-stage private DAC development [and] workforce with skills demanded by DAC" creates a clear link to taking advantage of federal climate legislation.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Act and the Inflation Reduction Act, specifically, provide federal grant opportunities and tax incentives to support the development of private sector regional direct air capture hubs and storage innovation.  

"I am proud to partner with Gov. Gordon on this innovative work that benefits both Colorado and Wyoming," Polis concluded, "as we continue to find creative ideas and common-sense solutions in the fight for clean air that won’t just benefit Colorado and Wyoming, but the entire world."

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