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Monday, March 22, 2010

Legal Issues Associated with the Development of Carbon Dioxide Sequestration Technology

Adam Vann
Legislative Attorney

James E. Nichols
Law Clerk

Paul W. Parfomak
Specialist in Energy and Infrastructure Policy

In the last few years there has been a surge in interest in the geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide (CO2), a process often referred to as carbon capture and storage, or carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), as a way to mitigate man-made CO2 emissions and thereby help address climate change concerns. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA; P.L. 110- 140) contains measures to promote research and development of CCS technology, to assess sequestration capacity, and to clarify the framework for issuance of CO2 pipeline rights-of-way on public land. Other legislative proposals have also sought to encourage the development of CO2 sequestration, capture, and transportation technology. A number of measures have been introduced in the 111th Congress that could further development and deployment of CCS technology, including H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES), which was passed by the House in June of 2009.

This report discusses the myriad legal issues associated with the development of CCS technology. These issues include, but are not limited to: determinations of ownership and control of the underground pore space where the CO2 would be "sequestered" under most of the contemplated technology; the question of which federal and state agencies would permit and regulate CO2 pipelines transporting the gas to the sequestration site; a lack of clarity concerning the status of CO2 for purposes of environmental regulation; and concerns over liability exposure that may hinder the development of CCS technology.

Date of Report: March 19, 2010
Number of Pages: 23
Order Number: R41130
Price: $19.95

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