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Press Release | October 16, 2023

RELEASE: Energy Department’s Embrace Of Fossil Fuel Powered Hydrogen Hubs A Win For Manchin, Loss For Climate

ClimateExecutive Branch
RELEASE: Energy Department’s Embrace Of Fossil Fuel Powered Hydrogen Hubs A Win For Manchin, Loss For Climate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Hannah Story Brown, [email protected]

Energy Department’s Embrace Of Fossil Fuel Powered Hydrogen Hubs A Win For Manchin, Loss For Climate

In response to the Energy Department’s announcement Friday that it has selected seven proposed Hydrogen Hubs to allow to enter negotiations for $7 billion in federal funding, the Revolving Door Project released the following statement: 

“Any hope that the Department of Energy was going to send a clear, strong signal that hydrogen needs to be produced by renewable energy in order to be ‘clean’ was thoroughly extinguished on Friday,” said Revolving Door Project Senior Researcher Hannah Story Brown. “A majority of the selected projects intend to produce hydrogen from fossil fuels and rely on unproven carbon capture and storage technology to clean up the carbon dioxide generated as the main byproduct of the chemical process that yields hydrogen from natural gas. The Energy Department has already poured more than a billion federal dollars into failed carbon capture initiatives which made no discernible dent in the nation’s massive emissions. Why should we expect this latest contrivance to lead to real success where all of its predecessors have failed?”

Revolving Door Project Senior Researcher Emma Marsano said: “A look at the corporations who ‘won’ on Friday makes it disturbingly clear that the hydrogen hype was never going to lead to a rational, clear-headed attempt to produce a fuel/feedstock with narrow, targeted applications for decarbonizing industry. Many serious corporate environmental offenders have gotten their foot in the door. Dozens of oil and gas companies, from Chevron and ExxonMobil to EQT and Dominion Energy to Xcel Energy and Marathon Petroleum, are poised to benefit from federal funding explicitly described as going towards the ‘clean energy transition’ to ‘tackle the climate crisis.’” 

“This retrograde ‘all of the above’ energy strategy is a cowardly capitulation to corporate interests at the expense of true decarbonization. No wonder Senator Manchin ‘could not be prouder,’” Brown added. “The Energy Department’s counter-intuitive, big-tent interpretation of ‘clean’ hydrogen production was not necessary or inevitable. We are committed to tracking the federal personnel involved in this decision who move on to work for its private sector beneficiaries in coming years.”

For more information about hydrogen and the corporate players seeking to capitalize upon billions in federal funding for its production, see our Hydrogen Industry Agenda Report.

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Image: The H2 Truck showcase on June 5, 2023 at the Department of Energy. This photo by Charles Watkins is in the public domain.

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