U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-Penn.) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) last week introduced a bill to encourage the commercial deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology by setting up a program for managing financial risk or liability of the long-term storage of the greenhouse gas.

The Carbon Storage Stewardship Trust Fund Act of 2009, read twice and referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, also offers the private sector a framework for how legal and financial responsibilities for commercial carbon storage operations will be addressed. Additionally, it seeks to provide incentives to industry to manage and reduce risk by deploying carbon sequestration in the “safest possible manner,” the senators said in a joint press release last week.

While introducing the bill on the floor, Sen. Enzi urged President Obama to consider that coal is the nation’s most abundant energy source and that ending use of the resource “doesn’t make sense.”

“Our legislation sets up a framework that answers the question of who is responsible for the CO2 once it is placed underground. The Carbon Storage Stewardship Trust Fund Act of 2009 requires companies injecting CO2 into the ground to obtain private liability insurance for a period of time. After the CO2 is injected and the injection site is certified as closed by the federal government, liability for the CO2 is transferred to the federal government,” he said.
 
To cover any claims that may arise from damages caused by the injected CO2 , the bill sets up a federal trust fund that is paid for through a small fee charged for each ton of CO2 that is injected. It also provides a method for compensation for those damages.

Specifically, the bill would:

  • Require private liability insurance for geological storage facility construction, and for carbon dioxide transport, injection, well plugging, site abandonment, and post-closure monitoring.
  • Establish a federal trust fund from fees paid by commercial carbon dioxide storage facility operators that will be used to pay for claims for damages made after storage facility stewardship is transferred to the federal government.
  • Establish a federal program to certify closure of commercial facilities and subsequent transfer of liability for long-term stewardship to the federal government.
  • Convey post-closure liability for long-term stewardship of stored carbon dioxide to the federal government or state upon receipt of certificate of closure.
  • Provide for prompt and orderly compensation for damages or harm from the transport, injection, and storage of carbon dioxide in geological storage units.

Source: Sens. Bob Casey (D-Penn.) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.)