Gov. Bill Ritter Wednesday announced the formation of a Colorado Department of Natural Resources task force to tackle “complex legal, regulatory and policy issues” surrounding carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) in the state.
The 12-member Carbon Capture and Sequestration Task Force will start delving into policy issues facing the state’s coal and electrical utility industries as research continues on carbon capture and underground storage of CO2 produced by coal-fired power plants and other utilities. Scientists says CO2 emissions are the biggest contributor to global climate change.
The goal is to produce omnibus legislation for the 2011 legislative session. Several other states, including Wyoming, North Dakota and Montana, have already either passed CCS regulations or are considering legislation.
Current state lawmakers named to the CCS task force, which will meet monthly, include Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass, Sen. Al White, R-Hayden, Rep. Claire Levy, D-Boulder, and Rep. Marsha Looper, R-Calhan.
There will also be two members each from the utility, coal and oil and gas industries and one member each from the cement industry and the conservation community, as well as two Ritter administration officials: Ginny Brannon, the climate change program manager for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and Robert Randall, assistant director of energy and minerals for the DNR.
The task force will deal with such questions as whether surface owners, mineral owners, or the state or federal government should own the pore space in which CO2 would be injected and stored; who should own the CO2 once it’s been injected into geologic formations; and what environmental and health regulations are appropriate for geologic CO2 sequestration.
In Moffat County, the Colorado Geological Survey is conducting a $5.48 million study backed by the U.S. Department of Energy to see if CO2 from several different industrial facilities could be stored in underground sandstone formations.
“Interest in carbon capture and sequestration has grown dramatically in recent years,” Colorado State Geologist Vince Matthews said in a release. “Colorado should encourage its progress by ensuring that a workable legal and policy regime is in place before the state is asked to evaluate specific projects.”