Earlier this week, leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee unveiled a draft legislation that aims to enable the streamlining of permits for natural gas, oil and carbon capture pipeline networks and the energy projects and infrastructure they are connected to.
The Pipeline Safety, Modernization, and Expansion Act of 2023 — authored by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., and Energy Subcommittee Chairman Jeff Duncan, R-S.C. — has four priorities: expanding pipeline infrastructure, lowering prices, reducing emissions and strengthening pipeline safety.
Under the current version of the document, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will be tasked with issueing federal permits for the construction, modification, expansion, inspection, repair or maintenance of a pipeline. It also reduces the deadline for a final permit decision to one year.
Though the focus of the legislation is primarily on the mature oil and gas industries, there is a specific section aimed at carbon capture pipeline networks. With carbon capture deployment growing across multiple industries and seeing demand from point source and direct air capture projects, the bill is a vital piece of the puzzle needed for enabling the transport, storage and utilization of the greenhouse gas.
The bill will require the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to finalize safety standards for carbon dioxide transportation pipeline facilities no later than one year from the date of enactment. It also clarifies the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency to identify areas suitable for underground sequestration of carbon dioxide.
Underground CO2 sequestration is subject to Class VI well permits which are predominantly reviewed by the EPA. This has been described as a bottleneck for the deployment of carbon capture, as a low number of permits have been granted outside of states like Wyoming and North Dakota, which have primacy over them.
With the legislation still in a draft stage, the two authors stated that they will be working with stakeholders to complete the document’s details.
Read more: The Global Race To Capture Carbon Has Begun!