Legislation could soon be accepted in Pennsylvania that will aim to create a legal and regulatory framework for local carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) projects. Senator Gene Yaw (R-23) has passed around a co-sponsorship memo to establish the Pennsylvania Geologic Storage of Carbon Dioxide Act.
The Act would assign state regulatory authority for carbon capture and storage facilities within the state, designate property rights around storage sites in deep geologic formations and specify the regulatory and permitting process. It will also create a cash fund sustaining regulatory operations that will minimize exposure to taxpayers’ money.
According to Sen. Gene Yaw, carbon capture is a pragmatic solution to the problem of reducing carbon emissions and does that without crippling the reliability of the existing power grid.
“Pennsylvania is uniquely qualified to develop a vast CCS network, thanks to our robust energy industry and extensive geological formations… We should act now to establish a solid regulatory framework that will attract investment and development and economic opportunity for decades to come,” added Yaw.
Data from a 2009 Department of Conservation and Natural Resources report shows that Pennsylvania has a capacity to store about 2.4 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide underground. This is equivalent to the emissions from 517 million gas-powered passenger vehicles per year.
A legislation set-up for the industry could also empower Pennsylvania’s future as a hub for carbon capture and sequestration. The technology is needed to immediately reduce industrial emissions, however, most scientific reports on climate change mitigation pathways agree that it should not be developed as an individual strategy but rather as a complementary technology to projects eliminating fossil fuel use altogether like renewables.
The carbon capture bill in Pennsylvania would ensure the state’s commitment to climate change mitigation actions. Still more robust measures are needed to bring it to net zero emissions in the next years to come.