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Carbon capture sequestration bill receives Barbour’s signature

The Mississippi Geologic Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide Act passed the Senate and last week received Gov. Haley Barbour’s signature.

The bill, which was widely supported by the energy industry, says 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.”

The environmental group Sierra Club doesn’t like the bill, however.

State director Louie Miller said he was pleased that the “horrible bill” passed without language offering immunity to storage operators, caps on liability or eminent domain.

“Nobody’s ever put this amount of CO2 in the ground to know what’s going to happen down the road and whether this is going to contaminate ground water with salt water to the point that it’s not drinkable,” Miller also said.

To date, no known groups have actually geologically sequestered carbon for long-term storage in the United States, although pilot programs exist. 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 will be the first commercial-scale plant in the nation to capture 65 percent of its carbon dioxide emissions.

Denbury Resources recently signed a contract with Mississippi Power to buy 70 percent of the plant’s carbon. Companies like Denbury inject carbon dioxide obtained from underground into oil reservoirs for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR).

A Mississippi Power spokesperson said the company anticipates delivering approximately 115 million cubic feet per day of carbon to Denbury.

North Dakota, Oklahoma and Louisiana have also passed bills allowing for carbon capture and sequestration (CCS).

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