Natural Resources

Legal framework for carbon dioxide sequestration created

Lawmakers passed a bill May 19 that creates a legal and regulatory framework for the geologic storage of carbon dioxide in Nebraska.

Sen. Michael Flood
Sen. Michael Flood

Under LB650, sponsored by Norfolk Sen. Michael Flood, the Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission will regulate facilities that inject carbon dioxide through wells into underground geologic formations for permanent or short-term storage.

LB650 allows geologic storage only if a storage operator obtains a permit from both the commission and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Underground Injection Control program. Before the commission issues a permit, it must hold a public hearing and consult with the state Department of Environment and Energy and the federal permitting authority.

The commission must find that the proposed storage facility would not endanger surface waters or underground drinking water sources and that the storage operator will establish a testing and monitoring plan to assess the location and migration of injected carbon dioxide.

LB650 requires storage operators to pay the commission two fees on each ton of carbon dioxide injected for storage, one to defray administrative expenses and another to defray expenses incurred in the long-term monitoring and management of a closed storage facility.

The bill passed on a vote of 48-1.

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