Safety concerns rise as PA pursues hydrogen hub Spotlight on PA

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HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania Senate is considering a bill that would give state regulators, rather than the federal government, the power to decide where to place large wells to bury the carbon dioxide produced by power plants deep underground.

Carbon capture is linked to the burgeoning hydrogen production industry, which is expected to generate huge inflows over the next decade. As part of the Federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Department of Energy assign $7 billion for up to 10 projects to build a “hydrogen hub”.

So far, the federal government has received three applications to build hydrogen hubs in Pennsylvania.State lawmaker and former Democratic Governor Tom Wolfe $1 billion tax incentive approved Last year, it aimed to attract a base to the state.

However, environmentalists and some legislators believe that state environmental departments fail to provide adequate oversight of carbon capture and storage and that communities would benefit if such projects were permitted without federal oversight. claims to be at risk.

The State Senate Committee on Environment, Resources and Energy recently passed legislation to: Specification In line with party policy, the DEP will create a legal and regulatory framework to control where companies can drill underground injection wells.

These wells are used to store liquefied carbon dioxide emissions as a means of preventing greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere. Such wells cause an earthquake and pollute drinking water.

The agency will be tasked with assessing terrain where wells will be built, tightening regulations on the quality of storage and transportation infrastructure, and monitoring public health impacts.

Currently, the Federal Environmental Protection Agency has primary enforcement powers with respect to injection wells, also known as priority rights.This means Project requires federal agency approval and meet its construction, monitoring and operating standards.

Pennsylvania’s pending bill would direct the DEP to take over this authority from the EPA.

that’s all Two states, North Dakota and Wyoming, have this level of authority over injection wellsbut other States with large energy industries, such as Louisiana and Texas, are also debating whether they should gain the upper hand.

State Senator Jean Yeo (R-Lycoming), chairman of the Congressional Environment Committee, said Pennsylvania needs to start pursuing carbon capture, utilization and storage.

“We have to move, and yes, there will definitely be problems along the way,” Yeo told Spotlight PA. “But there’s no option to just sit around doing nothing and just sit here and talk about it.”

Yeo said the bill would show the Department of Energy, which is responsible for spending billions of dollars in federal funds, that Pennsylvania is ready and eager to host a hydrogen hub. I added that I could.

“The only thing we are concerned about is that we are seen as a place, and for that we need to express our interests,” Yeo said.

Democratic Commissioners said they received the bill one day before the conference but were concerned that the bill failed to consider environmental and community impacts.

State Senator Carolyn Comitta (D. Chester), the Minority Chair of the Commission, said she supports state regulatory authority over carbon capture, but is not without adequate regulation and oversight. He said he thought the bill lacked it. He also said the DEP lacked the necessary staff to properly oversee the injection wells.

“The EPA’s tax credit requirements include hydrogen hubs and [carbon capture and storage], environmental justice, community discourse and voice, which are not yet included in the bill,” Committah said. “We don’t support things that aren’t done right.”

Many state legislators agree that federal funding would be a big win for Pennsylvania, creating thousands of new jobs in the construction and energy industries, but hydrogen production and related industries would Opinions differ on what level of government oversight should be included.

Concerns from Democratic leadership earlier this month stopped billing The State House Committee on Environment, Resources and Energy will impose even greater restrictions on which companies can collect tax credits for hydrogen production.

Rep. Greg Vitali (D.D.D.), chairman of the committee, echoed the committers. He raised concerns about the federal financial responsibility for injection wells rather than the companies that drill them.

“I’m a proponent of the concept of carbon capture in general, but it has to be done the right way,” Vitali said. “The impact of the natural gas industry, the labor impact, is huge in this building.

For Jenn Quinn, the legislative director of the Pennsylvania chapter of the environmental group Sierra Club, the question of which agency should oversee the construction of injection wells is a blur. Under the EPA, the strength of regulation often depends on which administration is in power, and DEPs may have a better understanding of local issues, she said.

But Quinn questioned whether states could enact stricter environmental regulations than the federal government.

“States can always take stronger action than federal standards, but that doesn’t mean they’re in a state that can,” Quinn said. “I think we have an opportunity to play it safe. So what are we rushing for? But historically, that’s what we do.” .”

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