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Federal House of Representatives, Standing Committee on Science and Innovation says CO2 dumps lobby plans to amend existing legislation to regulate industry

Posted by gmarkets on 3 September, 2007

It was desirable to achieve consistent legislation relating to CO2 dumps across all states and territories, said the report ‘Between a rock and a hard place: The science of geosequestration’ released by the Federal House of Representatives, Standing Committee on Science and Innovation on 13 August 2007. Some relevant state legislation: “There is currently no specific legislative or regulatory framework for CCS in Australia,” the report said. “There are, however, existing state and federal laws and regulations with relevance to various aspects of CCS. At the state level, the Queensland Petroleum and Gas (Protection and Safety) Act 2004 and the South Australian Petroleum Act 2000, for example, ‘provide for the transport by pipeline and storage in natural reservoirs of substances including carbon dioxide’.”

Cooperation should be extended: “At the Commonwealth level, environmental laws relevant to CCS include:

• the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999;

• the Environment Protection (Sea Dumping) Act 1981; and the Offshore Petroleum Act 2006.

Current legislative arrangements involve multiple jurisdictions and approvals. It is desirable to achieve consistent legislation across all states and territories. Similar sedimentary storage sites in different states should be treated in the same way as far as practicable. Co-operation should be extended so that CO2 produced in one state may be able to be stored in another where long-term and secure storage is proximate and suitable.”

No CCS-specific regulatory framework: “The Australian Government is currently in the process of developing a nationally consistent regulatory framework. In September 2003, the MCMPR9 established a Geosequestration Regulatory Working Group (consisting of all federal, state and territory jurisdictions) to develop draft regulatory guiding principles for CCS. In November 2004, the MCMPR charged its Contact Officers Group with reporting on how to implement a legislative framework to regulate CCS in Australia. Although there is no CCS specific regulatory framework, it was suggested that legislation associated with the petroleum and mineral exploration industries covering approval processes, environmental protection, transport of gases by pipeline (although not specifically CO2), a legislative regime for storage and injection of gases as part of a petroleum recovery operation might provide a foundation.”

Support for MCMPR: “A significant volume of evidence to the inquiry was supportive of the MCMPR initiative and its recommendation for amendment to existing petroleum legislation rather than the development of totally new legislation where possible. Chevron, for example, stated that: ‘While new or amended legislation may be required to allow the injection of carbon dioxide, many aspects of existing legislation, regulation or the principles behind existing regulation can be readily adapted to facilitate geosequestration projects.’ Chevron suggests using or adapting existing laws and regulations for areas such as:

• environmental impact assessment;

• the transportation of CO2;

• the design, drilling and production regulations in relation to petroleum wells; and

• disposal management plans.

According to Anglo Coal: ‘On balance therefore we think incorporation into existing petroleum legislation is the most practicable route, given that there will be a vital need to promote co-development and to reconcile conflicts between overlapping tenements – both of which would be difficult to achieve if the respective tenements were housed in different regulatory structures with different regulators’.”

Reference: ‘Between a rock and a hard place: The science of geosequestration’. House of Representatives, Standing Committee on Science and Innovation, August 2007, Canberra. For Media comment: contact the Committee Chair, Mr Petro Georgiou MP. Phone: (02) 6277 4419 or the Deputy Chair, Mr Harry Quick MP. Phone: (02) 6277 4304. For information: contact the Committee Secretary. Phone: (02) 6277 4150. Issued by: Liaison and Projects Office, House of Representatives. Phone: (02) 6277 2392. Copies of the report can be obtained from the website:
http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/scin/geosequestration/index.htm

Erisk Net, 13/8/2007

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