Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Carbon sequestration bills get support

The Wyoming Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday supported both bills dealing with "potential geologic storage of carbon dioxide." That's the great thing about this issue -- its spawned a plethora of new terms for my personal lexicon. Here's another one: Underground pore spaces. That's a fine phrase, as we're all familiar with our skin's pores which, in teenagers, become packed with goop and yield explosive zits. We hope that nothing explodes when we pack carbon dioxide in our ground's pores. The jury is still out on that.

Meanwhile, we have to legislate. That's what governors from the coal states of Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia were saying over the weekend at the National Governor's Conference in D.C. They were urging that their states not be counted out when it comes to environmental legislation. It's odd that most of these governors are Democrats. Their promotion of clean-coal technologies pits them against other members of our party who promote wind/solar/geothermal and look upon coal burning as the root of all evil. We know that when the Democrats take over the White House and both houses of Congress, climate change legislation will follow. The Govs just want coal to get an equal hearing. Wyoming, after all, annually produces 38 percent of the coal used in the U.S., more than any other state (Montana produces only 4 percent). Our economy depends on it.

The Governors are also calling for legislation on carbon sequestration. Wyoming, apparently, is one of the few to have legislation in the hopper.

Which brings us back to the bills rolling through the Wyoming Legislature.

House Bill 89 calls for surface landowners to control the underground poer spaces where carbon dioxide could be stored. House Bill 90 sets up regulations for carbon sequestration under the supervision of the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality. Both bills must pass two more readings in the Senate before they can be signed into law by Gov. Dave Freudenthal.

Get legislative updates at http://legisweb.state.wy.us/.

3 comments:

Jason said...

Michael,
I am a law student working on a law review note on carbon sequestration and the corresponding property rights to the vacant pore space underneath the surface. I have seen some of your posts and would be interested in talking with you. Please contact me, jkaplan215@gmail.com Thanks. Jason Kaplan

mpage225 said...

Mike, first, what the heck is carbon sequestration? Just what are they really storing?

As to coal, that is a big issue in Kansas Missouri. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment recently denied a permit for 2 new large coal fired Electrical plants. The Kansas legislature is busy trying to over turn that. Missouri lawmakers also trying to make sure that we can continue to build coal fired power plants.

Perhaps these lawmakers are just looking out for the best interests of our friends in Wyoming.

Michael Shay said...

Carbon capture, carbon sequestration, geologic storage of carbon dioxide. This issue has a ton of terms attached to it. Basically, it's an effort to capture the CO2 burned by coal-burning plants and store it underground so it doesn't add to global warming. Experts don't seem to know whther it will work, and how lobng we can keep the CO2 bottled up forever under our ranches and homes.

It's extremely important to Wyoming because we have something like half of the low-sulphur coal reserves in the USA. As you mentioned, coal-burning plants across the country are being cancelled due to fears over global-warming regulations. This will be a big issue for the Dems once we boot out Bush & Co.

It's good to have the legislature working on regulations that will be needed in the future. Planning ahead, what a concept!