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Management and Effects of Coalbed Methane Produced Water in the Western United States (2010)

Chapter: Appendix A: Legislative Authorization Language H.R. 6 - Energy Policy Act of 2005 Section 1811. Coal Bed Methane Study

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Legislative Authorization Language H.R. 6 - Energy Policy Act of 2005 Section 1811. Coal Bed Methane Study." National Research Council. 2010. Management and Effects of Coalbed Methane Produced Water in the Western United States. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12915.
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APPENDIX A
Legislative Authorization Language H.R. 6—Energy Policy Act of 2005 Section 1811. Coal Bed Methane Study

Public Law 109-58

109th Congress

August 8, 2005

H.R. 6, Energy Policy Act of 2005.

42 USC 15801


SEC. 1811. COAL BED METHANE STUDY.

  1. STUDY.—Contracts.

    1. IN GENERAL.—The Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, shall enter into an arrangement under which the National Academy of Sciences shall conduct a study on the effect of coal bed natural gas production on surface and ground water resources, including ground water aquifiers, in the States of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Utah.

    2. MATTERS TO BE ADDRESSED.—The study shall address the effectiveness of—

      1. the management of coal bed methane produced water;

      2. the use of best management practices; and

      3. various production techniques for coal bed methane natural gas in minimizing impacts on water resources.

  1. DATA ANALYSIS.—The study shall analyze available hydrologic, geologic and water quality data, along with—

    1. production techniques, produced water management techniques, best man-

Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Legislative Authorization Language H.R. 6 - Energy Policy Act of 2005 Section 1811. Coal Bed Methane Study." National Research Council. 2010. Management and Effects of Coalbed Methane Produced Water in the Western United States. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12915.
×
  1. agement practices, and other factors that can mitigate effects of coal bed methane development;

  2. the costs associated with mitigation techniques;

  3. effects on surface or ground water resources, including drinking water, associated with surface or subsurface disposal of waters produced during extraction of coal bed methane; and

  4. any other significant effects on surface or ground water resources associated with production of coal bed methane.

  1. RECOMMENDATIONS.—The study shall analyze the effectiveness of current mitigation practices of coal bed methane produced water handling in relation to existing Federal and State laws and regulations, and make recommendations as to changes, if any, to Federal law necessary to address adverse impacts to surface or ground water resources associated with coal bed methane development.

  2. COMPLETION OF STUDY.—The National Academy of Sciences shall submit the findings and recommendations of the study to the Secretary of the Interior and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency within 12 months after the date of enactment of this Act, and shall upon completion make the results of the study available to the public.

  3. REPORT TO CONGRESS.—The Secretary of the Interior and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, after consulting with States, shall report to the Congress within 6 months after receiving the results of the study on—

    1. the findings and recommendations of the study;

    2. the agreement or disagreement of the Secretary of the Interior and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency with each of its findings and recommendations; and

    3. any recommended changes in funding to address the effects of coal bed methane production on surface and ground water resources.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Legislative Authorization Language H.R. 6 - Energy Policy Act of 2005 Section 1811. Coal Bed Methane Study." National Research Council. 2010. Management and Effects of Coalbed Methane Produced Water in the Western United States. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12915.
×
Page 191
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Legislative Authorization Language H.R. 6 - Energy Policy Act of 2005 Section 1811. Coal Bed Methane Study." National Research Council. 2010. Management and Effects of Coalbed Methane Produced Water in the Western United States. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12915.
×
Page 192
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In some coalbeds, naturally occurring water pressure holds methane--the main component of natural gas--fixed to coal surfaces and within the coal. In a coalbed methane (CBM) well, pumping water from the coalbeds lowers this pressure, facilitating the release of methane from the coal for extraction and use as an energy source. Water pumped from coalbeds during this process--CBM 'produced water'--is managed through some combination of treatment, disposal, storage, or use, subject to compliance with federal and state regulations.

CBM produced water management can be challenging for regulatory agencies, CBM well operators, water treatment companies, policy makers, landowners, and the public because of differences in the quality and quantity of produced water; available infrastructure; costs to treat, store, and transport produced water; and states' legal consideration of water and produced water. Some states consider produced water as waste, whereas others consider it a beneficial byproduct of methane production. Thus, although current technologies allow CBM produced water to be treated to any desired water quality, the majority of CBM produced water is presently being disposed of at least cost rather than put to beneficial use.

This book specifically examines the Powder River, San Juan, Raton, Piceance, and Uinta CBM basins in the states of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. The conclusions and recommendations identify gaps in data and information, potential beneficial uses of CBM produced water and associated costs, and challenges in the existing regulatory framework.

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