Barrasso Presses DOE for Details on Taxpayer Dollars Being Sent to China-connected Companies

December 15, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, sent a letter to Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Jennifer Granholm regarding loans and grants to China-connected companies. The letter notes that LanzaTech has reportedly received $10 million from the Department of Energy despite its clear ties to the PRC.

In the letter, Barrasso points out LanzaTech’s direct ties to Chinese state-owned enterprises. He requests a full review of DOE’s policies on loans and grants to companies with ties to China. 

Read the full letter here and below. 

Dear Secretary Granholm, 

I write to request that you conduct a thorough review of all the Department of Energy’s (DOE) policies and procedures related to the awarding of loans and grants to companies with leadership and/or financial ties to the People’s Republic of China. The results of this review must be made available to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. My request follows the latest news of DOE funneling taxpayer funds to China-connected companies, this time to LanzaTech Inc. LanzaTech, a carbon capture technology company has received more than $10 million from DOE. 

LanzaTech has clear ties to the PRC. According to its recent Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings, “[LanzaTech’s] business operations in China include a joint venture, several strategic investors located in China, including Sinopec, and a core team of technical, business and administrative professionals at a LanzaTech office in Shanghai.” They further state, “we are subject to the risk that the Chinese government may intervene or influence our operations at any time.” 

LanzaTech’s 2021 Annual Report, in which you are prominently featured,  highlights Bo Ren, the Managing Director for Sinopec Capital, the investment arm of the Chinese state-owned oil conglomerate. Mr. Ren, who sits on LanzaTech’s Board of Directors, previously worked for CITIC, a state-owned investment company. He also graduated from Tianjin University, which is on a federal trade blacklist for “systematically coordinat[ing] and committ[ing] more than a dozen instances of theft of trade secrets from U.S. corporations.” 

The Department cannot afford to keep making the same mistake of enriching China’s technological efforts at the expense of taxpayers. It is imperative you conduct this review as the awarding of these grants and loans directly impacts the national security of the United States.  

I look forward to your prompt reply to both this letter and my letter of December 7, 2022. Additionally, please provide the results of the Department’s review no later than January 31, 2023.