The CCS Reg project team is developing, refining, and exploring how best to implement an appropriate regulatory environment in the U.S. for the commercialization of carbon capture and deep geological sequestration. Regulatory aspects of the following elements are being included:
||siting & acquisition of property rights
|retrofit & new plants
(e.g.post combustion scrubbing,IGCC, OxyFuel)
||long term stewardship liability (at all stages)
While CCS Reg investigators are addressing all parts of the problem, much of our attention is focused on the technical capabilities, legal framework, regulatory rule making and administrative procedures that must be developed to make deep geological sequestration of CO2 a practical reality in the United States. This work is addressing all the issues that Congress, states, regulators, companies and the public will need to consider, including safety, environmental quality, reliability, liability, cost-effectiveness, project financing and management, long-term stewardship and political and social feasibility associated with the life-cycle of a GS project.
Our approach combines careful technical, economic and policy analysis with substantial outreach to federal, state, local and private-sector actors, so that the results can be communicated to key decision makers in an actionable form. Because adequate science-based regulation cannot be developed until substantial experience has been gained with large-scale pilot and demonstration projects, developing incentives and other strategies to promote such projects will be an important focus of the work.
Significant technical issues arise all along the life cycle of a geological sequestration project. These include methods and capabilities for:
- Characterizing the suitability of sites before an injection project is begun;
- Monitoring an injection site (e.g., formation pressure, plume-spread, leak detection, etc.) while injection is in progress and during immediate post-closure operations;
- Operating a site safely and effectively;
- Assessing possible site expansions;
- Remediating problems at all stages of the life cycle, if they occur;
- Determining when a site should move from post-closure to long-term stewardship;
- Monitoring during long-term stewardship.
Legal issues that must be considered include:
- Surface rights and access for geological characterization;
- Surface rights to establish injection facilities;
- Sub-surface rights: ownership of pore space, field "unitization" (i.e. how to merge a number of small parcels into one large field that may be >100km2), and issues of eminent domain, trespass, compensation, liability and damages;
- Short and long-term liability.
In addition to technical and legal issues, there are closely related questions of regulatory design that must be addressed. These include:
- How much experience is needed with large-scale pilot projects before one can safely finalize a science-based regulatory framework?
- How should the transition from an experimental or pilot stage to full-scale commercial operation be managed?
- What performance, legal, financial and other requirements should be demonstrated before a project can move from one stage to the next through the life cycle?
- What is the appropriate split between state and federal jurisdiction?
- What insurance and other requirements (such as sinking funds and/or performance bonds) should be imposed on project participants as a function of stages in the life cycle?
- How should funds be generated to cover the costs of possible remediation and of long-term stewardship?
Much of our attention is focused on the technical capabilities, legal framework, regulatory rule making and administrative procedures that must be developed to make deep geological sequestration of CO2 a practical reality in the United States.
Regulatory Design Issues