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Carbon capture bill violates property rights

Deep underground are microscopic areas of space between grains of rock that can absorb and hold liquids. The oil and gas industry wants to use these miniscule pockets for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) to “reduce” harmful emissions of C02. Carbon captured at smokestacks of gas-fired power plants will be transported to underground storage known as “pore space.”

What can go wrong? There are many environmental and safety concerns at play.

Injecting liquid into “pore space” increases pressure, which can cause fault lines to slip and result in earthquakes or explosions. It can also contaminate the groundwater supply. And CO2 can leak from faults in the reservoir or placement near abandoned wells.

Residents of Satartia, Mississippi can tell you these possibilities are no idle threat. In 2020, a CO2 pipeline ruptured, leaving dozens of people in a toxic cloud gasping for air, nauseated and confused. For months afterwards townspeople suffered from chronic fatigue and lung and stomach issues. Some have never recovered.


This is not the future we want for Pennsylvanians.

Under an old law, Pennsylvania landowners possess rights to the pore space under their property, but no legal protections exist. A bill passed by the Senate, though, would allow “forced pooling.” If 60% of your neighbors say yes to the lease of their pore space, you don't get to say no. The right to protect your own health and safety is taken away.

 While carbon capture is promoted as a solution to climate change and receives the support of the administration and industry, both scientists and frontline communities are critical of its potentially devastating impacts.

LTE originally printed June 20, 2024 in the Scranton Times-Tribune.

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