Carbon sequestration framework amended, advanced

Operators of carbon sequestration facilities in Nebraska would have to complete a seismic risk assessment before receiving a permit under a bill advanced to the final round of debate April 14.

<a href='http://news.legislature.ne.gov/dist19' target='_blank' title='Link to the website of Sen. Michael Flood'>Sen. Michael Flood</a>
Sen. Michael Flood

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

LB650 would allow geologic storage only if a storage operator obtains a permit from both the commission and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Underground Injection Control program. The commission would hold a public hearing and consult with state agencies and the federal permitting authority before issuing a permit.

Flood introduced an amendment on select file that he said is intended to address concerns that the injection wells could cause unintended seismic activity.

Under the amendment, adopted 40-0, the commission would have to find that, in accordance with the federal program, the storage operator has completed a geologic study that includes a seismic risk assessment before issuing a permit.

LB650 also would authorize the commission to require that any portions of a storage reservoir owned by nonconsenting landowners be included in a storage facility. Those landowners would be “equitably compensated.”

Sen. Steve Lathrop of Omaha supported the bill but said he and Flood are having “ongoing conversations” to ensure that LB650 protects landowners’ due process rights.

Following adoption of the Flood amendment, senators advanced the bill to final reading by voice vote.

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