Pennsylvania lawmakers push controversial carbon capture bill

Pennsylvania state lawmakers are supporting a controversial bill to create a carbon capture industry, raising environmental and public health concerns.

Audrey Carleton reports for Capital & Main.

In summary:

  • Senate Bill 831 allows carbon dioxide injection with minimal landowner consent and exempts operators from seismic monitoring under certain conditions.
  • Environmental groups warn of possible leaks, health hazards and inadequate landowner involvement in decision-making.
  • Supporters of the bill argue that it is critical to the state's energy future and to securing state funding for climate initiatives.

Key quote:

“The idea that they're going all out on carbon capture and trying to inject the stuff in the same places where it's like Swiss cheese … is just stupid.”

— Karen Feridun, co-founder of the Better Path Coalition

Why this is important:

The bill proposes building infrastructure to capture carbon dioxide emissions from industrial sources and store them underground. Proponents see the technology as an important tool for reducing emissions in sectors that are difficult to decarbonize, such as manufacturing and power generation.

But critics warn that the environmental and health consequences could be significant. Concerns range from potential groundwater contamination to the risk of carbon dioxide leaks that could pose a serious threat to surrounding communities. There are also fears that the focus on CCS could divert attention and resources from policies to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency, which are essential for a sustainable future.

Anna Harden

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