WATCH: WGA Webinar explores strategies to mitigate liability concerns for geologic carbon storage projects

The potential to permanently store vast quantities of captured carbon in the West’s subterranean geologic structures is often talked about as a game-changer in the world of decarbonization, but there are significant risks and liability concerns that give developers pause. 

As part of Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon’s Decarbonizing the West initiative, Reice Haase, the Deputy Executive Director of the North Dakota Industrial Commission, and Madeleine Lewis, a licensed attorney and policy research scientist at the University of Wyoming's School of Energy Resources, joined WGA for a webinar in which they explored strategies for mitigating these risks and addressing the liability challenges that may be prohibitive to the development of geologic carbon storage projects. 

One of the keys to this endeavor, they said, was to improve the industry’s external communication, inviting frequent inspections, making data publicly available, and expanding community engagement to demonstrate the safety of the industry. 

“The importance of community engagement this is timely and targeted and conscientious is really critical for the success of this industry in the long term,” Lewis said.  

Effectively communicating the level of detailed analysis that goes into site characterization before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grants a state Class VI Well Primacy (a delegation of authority allowing states to regulate the underground injection of CO2 under the Safe Drinking Water Act), is only half the battle, Reice said. The other half is encouraging a philosophical shift in how we view carbon itself. 

“We currently see [carbon] as a waste and have kind of a waste disposal type of regulatory framework,” he said. “We really should see it as a beneficial use and really focus more on the use side of [carbon capture, utilization, and storage] and foster some of those markets and incentivize developments, seeing CO2 as a resource for future use. I argue that would really be a truly global solution.” 

Watch the full webinar below. You can also watch any of the Decarbonizing the West initiative workshops on WGA’s YouTube channel.  

And be sure to check back in with WGA In the coming weeks for more information about the next Decarbonizing the West initiative webinar, which will focus on permitting for carbon transport infrastructure.   

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