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Posted on: Aug 23, 2019

Indiana Law Creates Carbon Sequestration Pilot Program

By Brianna Schroeder, Janzen Agricultural Law LLC

On July 1, 2019, a new law regarding carbon sequestration went into effect here in Indiana. Wabash Valley Resources LLC wants to build an ammonia production facility in Terre Haute and store its CO2 emissions underground to reduce its carbon footprint. Supporters point out this technology could allow manufacturers to reduce their carbon footprint and provide economic development in Indiana communities. But activists with the Citizens Action Coalition worry injecting CO2 could cause earthquakes and pollute drinking water.

Under Indiana Code section 14-39-1-3.5, the state authorized a carbon sequestration pilot project at a proposed ammonia plant in Terre Haute, Indiana. The plant will capture carbon dioxide and inject the carbon dioxide underground through one or more injection wells pursuant to a Class VI permit to be issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The carbon dioxide will be stored underground instead of releasing it into the atmosphere. The new law includes eminent domain authority for pipeline companies or the pilot project operator to build transmission pipelines for carbon dioxide. I.C. § 14-39-1-7. The state of Indiana may obtain ownership of the stored carbon dioxide and the underground formations in which it is stored after at least 12 years of operation or if the pilot operator ceases injections within 12 years. I.C. § 14-39-1-14. The law also included a general statement that carbon dioxide reduction is in the public interest. I.C. § 14-39-1-3.  

There are three steps to carbon capture and sequestration. First, the plant must capture the CO2. Second, the captured CO2 must be purified, compressed, and transported to the sequestration (storage) site. Finally, the CO2 is injected and sequestered underground in deep rock formations. These formations are often a mile or more beneath the surface and consist of porous rock that holds the CO2. Overlying these formations are impermeable, non-porous layers of rock that trap the CO2 and prevent it from migrating upward. The operator’s permits will require monitoring wells in the injection zone in overlying formations and shallow formations.

The process of obtaining the necessary EPA permits can take years, so it may be some time before we know how carbon sequestration works in Indiana. In the meantime, stay tuned to the nine other states which have addressed carbon capture and sequestration through legislation (Montana, Wyoming, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Illinois, Louisiana, North Dakota and West Virginia).


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