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Carbon capture bill

Both House and Senate committees have approved the Mississippi Geologic Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide Act.

The bills outline duties of the Oil and Gas Board and require that operators get the Board’s approval to use a reservoir for carbon dioxide storage.

The House bill states that it is “in the public interest that… carbon dioxide be injected into and stored in oil and gas reservoirs and other geologic formations in a manner protective of waters of the state… .

“Geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide is an emerging industry that has the potential to provide jobs, investment and other economic opportunities for the people of Mississippi, and is a valuable incentive for Mississippi to attract new industry.”

Currently, companies such as Denbury Resources Inc. inject carbon dioxide obtained from underground into oil reservoirs for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR), also called tertiary recovery, which allows more than 30 percent of a reservoir’s original supply to be extracted.

Now, groups hoping to capture carbon dioxide from power plants want to either sell it to companies for EOR or inject it into geological formations for long-term storage out of concern for global warming.

To date, no known groups have actually geologically sequestered carbon for long-term storage in the United States, and many have concerns about liability if the gas should leak out.

In 2009, pipeline giant Kinder Morgan Energy Partners said it would not engage in the process of long-term geological sequestration until protections against liability for leaking gas were put in place by the federal government.

According to Reuters, chief executive Rich Kinder called the lawsuit potential “a plaintiff lawyer’s dream.”

Mississippi Power Company’s $2.4-billion clean coal project under construction in Kemper County plans to capture 65 percent of its carbon dioxide emissions. Mississippi Power Company has repeatedly mentioned its intent to sell captured carbon to companies like Denbury. No contracts with Denbury or other companies have yet been signed for carbon purchase.

Laws in other states

Several states, such as Louisiana and West Virginia, have already passed laws regarding carbon sequestration.

Louisiana passed its Geological Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide Act in 2009.

Additionally, the Louisiana law contains language releasing storage operators from liability. Storage operators shall be released from “any and all liability associate with or related to that storage facility which arises after the issuance of the certificate of completion of injection operations,” the law states. Caps are also placed on civil liability cases. Non-economic damages may not exceed $1 million.

The proposed Mississippi bills do not currently contain similar language.

Additionally, the act gives eminent domain rights to any carbon storage operator who obtains a state permit or certificate of public convenience and necessity.

No such eminent domain language currently appears in either of the proposed Mississippi carbon sequestration bills.


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