PDF _ RL34307 - Regulation of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Sequestration Pipelines: Jurisdictional Issues
15-Apr-2008; Adam Vann and Paul W. Parfomak; 10 p.

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In the last few years there has been a surge in interest in carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) as a way to mitigate manmade carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and thereby help address climate change concerns. This approach may require the transportation of captured carbon dioxide via pipeline to an underground storage reservoir with the intent of keeping it out of the atmosphere. Congress has begun to address this issue.

The recently enacted Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (P.L. 110- 140) contains measures to promote research and development of CCS technology, to assess sequestration capacity, and to clarify the framework for issuance of CO2 pipeline rights-of-way on public land. Other legislative measures, including S. 2191 and S. 2323, have also sought to encourage the development of CO2 sequestration, capture, and transportation technology. Further, measures have been introduced in Congress, including the Carbon Dioxide Pipeline Study Act of 2007 (S. 2144), that would require the Secretary of Energy to study the feasibility of constructing and operating a network of CO2 pipelines for CCS. If these pipelines crossed state lines, it could raise important issues concerning regulatory jurisdiction over siting and pricing.

This report discusses federal jurisdictional uncertainty over CO2 pipelines under existing law, as well as potential legislative activity to address any possible regulatory “gap” in jurisdiction. It should be noted that such a potential gap does not necessarily demand federal legislative resolution. Nevertheless, some analysts, drawing on the history of oil and natural gas pipeline development, anticipate a potential need for better defined federal legislative/regulatory authority over an interstate CO2 pipeline network. Accordingly, Congress may be called upon to consider whether existing federal jurisdictional disclaimers and the state-by-state regulatory structure for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) pipelines is an appropriate regulatory scheme for a possible interstate CO2 pipeline network in support of CCS. Congress could opt to amend existing statutes, possibly those related to the interstate pipeline jurisdiction of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) or the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to provide for definitive CO2 pipeline rate jurisdiction by the federal government if it does not favor the existing regulatory scheme. Alternatively, Congress could establish another federal regulator of CO2 pipelines or possibly other legislation to amend the existing regulatory scheme.

 [read report]

Topics: Energy, Climate Change, Science & Technology

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