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Summary of S. 1013: Department of Energy Carbon Capture and Sequestration Program Amendments Act of 2009

S. 1013 authorizes the Department of Energy to conduct a program to demonstrate ten commercial-scale integrated geologic storage projects, and provides a framework for selection criteria for these demonstrations. Importantly, the bill addresses the long term-stewardship challenges associated with demonstration, including both long-term monitoring requirements and liability protection.

Overview of Bill

  • Authorizes the Department of Energy to conduct up to 10 commercial scale demonstrations of geological storage. The bill states that such demonstrations should inject over 1 million tons of carbon dioxide each year from an industrial source for a period of 10 years. These demonstrations would be selected competitively and awarded as cooperative agreements by DOE.
  • Requires sufficient geologic information to prove that the storage will be safe and permanent. The bill specifies that project selection be based on geological site information, including characteristics of the storage reservoir, identification of potential leakage pathways and a plan for measurement, monitoring and verification during and after injection. The bill also requires that, prior to selection, project operators demonstrate their ability to obtain necessary environmental permits.
  • Provides liability protection and Federal indemnity for these demonstration projects. The bill authorizes the Secretary of Energy to indemnify projects for personal, property and environmental damages that might be above what is covered by insurance or other financial assurance measures; with the exception of liability that is caused by gross negligence or intentional misconduct. Upon receiving the closure certificate, the site may be turned over to the Federal government for long-term site management and ownership.
  • Addresses need for proving legal rights property rights. The bill requires proof of possessing land or land interests for injection, storage, monitoring and closure prior to project selection.
  • Requires compliance with existing relevant laws for environmental protection. The bill requires compliance with applicable existing regulations for well construction and operation.
  • Ensures that operators maintain financial assurances. The bill requires that project operators maintain financial assurances after injection until the Secretary of Energy issues a certificate of closure.
  • Requires the operator to remediate any leaks. The bill requires remediation of any carbon dioxide leaks that might pose danger to human health or natural resources.
  • Outlines criteria for site closure certification. The bill provides details on requirements for long-term monitoring, including monitoring for at least 10 years after operations cease and the injected carbon dioxide stabilizes. Proof of certification includes demonstration of four criteria:
    1. location and extent of the project footprint (injected and displaced fluid)
    2. no leakage of injected or displaced fluid that would endanger public health, drinking water or natural resources
    3. the injected or displaced fluids are not expected to migrate in the future in a manner that would encounter a leakage pathway
    4. the injection wells at the site are plugged and abandoned in accordance with applicable laws
  • Includes provisions for siting the demonstrations on public land. The bill authorizes the siting of a demonstration on public land, with the potential transfer of property rights, jurisdiction, and responsibility for long-term monitoring to another Federal Agency (such as the Department of Energy).
  • Establishes a training program for state regulators. The bill establishes and authorizes funding appropriations for a training program for state agencies involved in permitting, and oversight of carbon capture and storage demonstrations.

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