Senate Energy Vets Carbon Capture Bills

By Published On: April 23, 2010

The U.S. Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources heard two bills designed to advance carbon capture and storage on April 20. Carbon capture and sequestration “may present the most immediate method for continued use of coal without contributing to global warming,” said Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), committee chair. One of the bills the committee took up seeks to accelerate carbon capture commercialization. The other measure seeks to assure that the government can control areas where it owns mineral rights, even though the surface of the land is privately owned. The commercialization bill, S. 1134, by Senator Robert Casey (D-PA), funds six to eight commercial-sized carbon capture pilot projects. However, it does not have a price estimate for them or a method of funding. Senator John Barasso (R-WY) said his bill, S. 1856, aims to clear up “federal corespace” issues. There are 50 million acres where the Bureau of Land Management owns mineral rights under private lands, noted Anne Castle, Interior Department assistant director for water and science. The panel was unclear whether it wanted control over the underground areas for carbon dioxide injection or for minerals that could be used to develop capture processes.

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