Monday, January 14, 2013

New Life for CCS in California?

With California's AB 32 cap-and-trade program now up and running, there is a renewed push in Sacramento for measures to facilitate deployment of CCS in the state.  Last month, California state Senator Michael Rubio (D) reintroduced legislation designed to resolve a number of outstanding regulatory and policy issues.  If passed, Senate Bill (SB) 34 would:

  • affirm that ownership of subsurface pore space vests in the surface landowner;
  • direct the California Air Resources Board (ARB) to adopt final protocols for CCS projects by 2016;
  • specify that CCS and EOR qualify as emission reduction technologies under AB 32; and
  • clarify state regulatory authorities over different segments of the CCS chain.

A similar bill died in committee earlier last year.  However, thumping Democratic victories in the November election have altered the political landscape.  Democrats now enjoy supermajorities in both the California state Senate and Assembly, and prospects for passage of SB 34 look promising.

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