Carbon sequestration is the practice of capturing carbon dioxide to keep the gas from entering the atmosphere. Scientists and organizations across the nation are studying the carbon capture and sequestration issue. There are efforts to put carbon dioxide underground, which is called geological sequestration, and efforts to store carbon in biomass, such as forest or agricultural systems, which is terrestrial sequestration.
A study bill (H.B. 828) introduced by Rep. Alan Olson that died in process during the 2007 session identified the need for an examination of "implementable and cost-effective methods" for capturing transporting, using and sequestering carbon dioxide in Montana. Carbon was the topic of at least 12 bills considered during the 2007 session (Click here for a list).
H.B. 3, the "Clean and Green" Energy bill approved during the Special Session, provides tax incentives for equipment that sequesters carbon. H.B. 25 includes carbon management aspects. See the specific rules here. Until the state or federal government adopts uniformly applicable standards, HB 25 prohibits the PSC from approving electric generating units primarily fueled by coal unless a minimum of 50 percent of the CO2 produced by the facility is captured and sequestered. Natural gas plants also must include cost-effective carbon offsets.The bill applies only to electric generating units constructed after January 1, 2007. Montana joins California, Oregon, and Washington as states that have adopted a CO2 emissions performance standard for electric generating units.
The 2007-08 Environmental Quality Council is dedicating .4 FTE to studying climate change. ETIC members will limit their study activities strictly to the issue of carbon sequestration.
The ETIC study will: (1) Review existing federal and state regulations governing carbon sequestration. (2) Review liability issues related to sequestration and legal issues related to ownership, surface and subsurface (3) Inventory sources and volumes of carbon produced in Montana. (4) Examine methods and technologies for the capture, transportation, use and geological and terrestrial sequestration of carbon. (5) Review the economic costs and benefits of carbon sequestration. (6) Study the feasibility of geological and terrestrial carbon sequestration in Montana, and the characteristics of areas in the state where carbon could be sequestered. (7) Review the findings and recommendations of the Montana Climate Change Advisory Committee (CCAC) related to carbon sequestration.
The ETIC dedicated .5 FTE to this study. The seven topics listed above all will be addressed at least at a minimum. In addition, the committee will hold a two-day meeting in Colstrip on October 4-5 to visit the Colstrip Steam Electric Station.
Included in this study will be an analysis of the pipeline infrastructure in place to transport carbon, a discussion of surface vs. storage rights, and a review of areas of Montana suited for carbon capture and geological sequestration. A panel discussion and a summary of other Western state's efforts on carbon sequestration will be completed.
Deliverables will include a final report with recommendations on carbon sequestration in Montana, issue papers on the individual issues listed above and potential legislation.