March 1, 2022

Indiana Senate narrowly passes bill to allow companies to store CO2

Sen. Rick Niemeyer (R-Lowell) speaking in opposition to HB 1209 which would allow companies that pollute to store their carbon emissions underground. - (Screenshot of iga.in.gov)

Sen. Rick Niemeyer (R-Lowell) speaking in opposition to HB 1209 which would allow companies that pollute to store their carbon emissions underground.

(Screenshot of iga.in.gov)

A bill that allows companies that pollute to capture their carbon emissions and store them underground narrowly passed the state Senate on Tuesday.

Sen. Sue Glick (R-LaGrange) who is sponsoring HB 1209 called carbon capture and storage the “most logical solution” to addressing greenhouse gas emissions and said that doing so would benefit everyone.

But several lawmakers expressed concerns about property rights. Among other things, the bill would require companies to get permission from owners of 70 percent of the land area and compensate those who don’t consent.

READ MORE: CO2 storage bill would make Indiana liable for long-term risks

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Those property owners wouldn’t be allowed to sue for punitive damages as long as the company complies with its permit.

Sen. Rick Niemeyer (R-Lowell) said carbon capture and storage isn’t a proven technology in Indiana.

“Farmers own a lot of ground and these are people that deal every day in this and they're really concerned about the property rights — how far this carbon is going to move," he said.

After nearly three years, the state pilot project with Wabash Valley Resources LLC in Terre Haute still hasn’t moved forward.

Some environmental advocates say underground carbon storage doesn’t address the source of the CO2 and has the potential to contaminate drinking water or cause earthquakes.

After the underground storage facility has closed, the state would assume liability for the CO2 — something the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and some lawmakers aren’t comfortable with.

Contact reporter Rebecca at rthiele@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.

Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.

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