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Alberta sets ground rules for carbon capture and storage

Alberta has introduced legislation to set out the ground rules and responsibilities related to carbon capture technologies.


Alberta has introduced legislation to set out the ground rules and responsibilities related to carbon capture technologies.

With carbon capture, or carbon sequestration as it is sometimes known, carbon dioxide released from industrial and other sources is injected into underground rock for permanent storage, the idea being that storing the greenhouse gas underground saves it from being emitted into the earth’s atmosphere.

Under Bill 24, which has received its first reading, the Alberta government would own the subsurface pore spaces in rock where the carbon dioxide is injected and stored. The government would also assume the long-term liability for the injected C02 after the companies involved have shown that the CO2 is securely contained.

Bill 24, the Carbon Capture and Storage Statutes Amendment Act, 2010,  also outlines plans to have a fund financed by carbon sequestration companies to finance the future monitoring of the underground storage zones and to pay for any necessary remediation.

Reactions to the proposed law have been mixed — some critics saying that the Act essentially allows the government to appropriate subsurface land. They also question why the taxpayer should be left on the hook for any future problems should the C02 start to leak. They believe the Alberta government’s plans will indirectly subsidize the oil companies because the CO2 can be injected into depleted oil reservoirs to enhance oil recovery.