H.R. 7685, the Innovative Mitigation Partnerships for Asphalt and Concrete Technologies Act: A Concrete Way to Reduce Emissions and Not American Jobs 

Concrete is the second most used product in the world, behind only water. Concrete—and associated materials like asphalt and cement—are ubiquitous worldwide. It’s in our roads and bridges, buildings, runways and more. Cement is the basic ingredient of concrete, while asphalt is concrete mixed with other materials. Key components of any modern infrastructure, we need concrete, cement and asphalt – and a lot of it.  

Making concrete is an energy- and fuel-intensive process. Raw materials are mined in a quarry and then transported to an industrial site, generally by truck or rail. The rocks are then crushed, ground, superheated in a kiln, cooled and rolled before it is finally ready for transport.  The industrial undertaking to produce these foundational building materials are feats of modern engineering brilliance that contribute to our wealthy society and high quality of life. 

Like any industrial process, creating concrete, cement and asphalt are emissions intensive. Due to the prominence of these materials and the heavy industrial processes, it has been difficult to abate emissions in this sector. 

Some government officials in the past have proposed levying heavy-handed regulations to reduce emissions in the concrete, cement and asphalt sectors. However, those misguided proposals will only drive up the cost of materials, which in turn contributes to inflation and harms the economy. H.R. 7685, the Innovative Mitigation Partnerships for Asphalt and Concrete Technologies (IMPACT) Act, introduced by Rep. Max Miller (R-Ohio), directs the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to find ways to leverage innovation in the private sector and release American ingenuity. 

Specifically, the IMPACT Act requires DOE to create a five-year plan to create a program to research, demonstrate, develop and commercialize new production methods to produce cement, concrete and asphalt with a lower emissions profile. 

The program will focus on technologies like carbon capture, which can mitigate carbon emissions across entire facilities. It also will explore opportunities to use alternative fuels: electrification and advanced sensor technologies. Most importantly, the program rewards the private sector’s existing successful efforts. For example, many concrete producers use heat already generated at their facilities to help make kilns more efficient. The IMPACT Act would capitalize on this innovative process to not only improve it but increase its prominence across other concrete manufacturers. 

H.R. 7685 also creates a Manufacturing USA Institute that will leverage America’s private sector resources and higher education with a focus on low-emissions cement, concrete and asphalt. 

Fortunately, there is progress for the IMPACT Act. The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, chaired by Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), advanced the legislation unanimously on March 20, 2024. 

The IMPACT Act is a shining example of how we can reduce U.S. manufacturing emissions and not American jobs.  

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