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Amreica’s Enery Future: Technology and Transformation
underground. Because safety issues associated with transportation of CO2 would be novel to the public (see Annex 7.A), opposition to it could exceed that of natural gas pipelines, which have had difficulty being sited in crowded areas such as, the Northeast. Pipeline transport of CO2 requires attention to route selection, overpressure protection, and leak detection (IPCC, 2005). Outside of high-population-density regions, opposition would likely be modest.
Storage of CO2 is a way to mitigate CO2 emissions for the time being, as discussed in the prior section titled “Geologic Storage of CO2.” Although there appears to be a large amount of storage capacity in the United States and elsewhere with suitably low initial leakage rates, long-term monitoring of leakage will be necessary. Further, there is a need for regulations concerning land-use compensation, underground storage rights, and long-term liability associated with CO2 injection (Wilson et al., 2007a,b).
Public acceptance cannot be taken for granted; it must be won by performance. Regarding industry and major environmental groups in the United States, thus far they are supportive of CCS playing a major role in transitioning to energy systems with lower CO2 emissions, assuming that safety questions related to possible releases are satisfactorily resolved. However, major environmental groups in Europe are concerned that CCS is not sustainable and that it may delay development of renewable-energy solutions.
The creation of a regulatory framework for geologic CO2 storage is currently beginning, and there is also considerable experience with injecting CO2 into oil formations for enhanced oil recovery, which has been regulated under rules for oil and gas production. Testing of geologic storage of CO2 can be done under existing regulatory frameworks, but large-scale implementation will require significant further development. Work on such a regulatory framework is under way at the EPA.
In July 2008, the EPA issued proposed rules for regulation of underground injection of CO2 under the Safe Drinking Water Control Act. These rules would create a new class of injection well for CO2 within the Underground Injection Control program, and they also include requirements for storage-site characterization, injection-well design and testing, monitoring of project performance, and demonstration of financial responsibility; finalization of the rules is expected by late 2010 or early 2011. Such a regulatory structure is likely to continue to evolve in the decade ahead as the science and technology used to describe the behavior of CO2 in the subsurface improves as a result of testing large-scale CO2 injection (see Annex 7.A for additional discussion of the development of a regulatory framework).