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Energy & Carbon Management Regulation

Concerning energy and carbon management regulation in Colorado, and, in connection therewith, broadening the energy and carbon management commission's regulatory authority to include regulation of geologic storage operations.
2024 Regular Session
Natural Resources & Environment
Bill Summary

The bill expands the authority of the energy and carbon management commission (commission) to include the regulation of : activities performed for the purpose of engaging in the injection and underground sequestration of injection carbon dioxide in pore space (geologic storage operations).

  • Facilities that use equipment to capture a significant quantity of carbon dioxide directly from the ambient air (direct air capture facility); and
  • Activities performed for the purpose of engaging in the injection and underground sequestration of carbon dioxide in pore space (geologic storage operations).

The commission may:

  • Reimpose any regulatory responsibility or financial assurance obligation imposed on a person that exercises the right to control the conduct of geologic storage operations (geologic storage operator) if the geologic storage operator makes a material misrepresentation or omission that causes the commission to approve a site closure; and
  • Assess and collect regulatory and permitting fees from geologic storage operators.

Current law requires the commission to promulgate rules that evaluate and address the cumulative impacts of oil and gas operations by April 28, 2024. The bill changes current law by extending the date of the rule-making to September 30, 2024, and requiring the evaluation of cumulative impacts to address impacts from all operations regulated by the commission.

The bill also allows the commission to hire and designate employees of the commission as administrative law judges who have the authority to administer proceedings on behalf of the commission.

Current law provides a statute of limitations of one year after the date of an alleged violation of energy and carbon management laws (violation). The bill changes this statute of limitations to 3 years after the discovery of the alleged violation and provides that the 3-year statute of limitations period does not apply if information regarding the alleged violation is knowingly or willfully concealed by the alleged violator.

The bill also expands the following energy and carbon management law areas to include geologic storage operations: and direct air capture facilities:

  • Enforcement and civil penalty procedures;
  • Use of the energy and carbon management cash fund by the commission;
  • Mitigation of adverse environmental impacts by the commission or an operator; and
  • State agency and local government authority over oil and gas development.

The commission is required to adopt rules related to the permitting and regulation of direct air capture facilities. When reviewing an application for a direct air capture facility, the commission must consider whether a setback of the direct air capture facility from certain areas is necessary and reasonable to protect and minimize adverse impacts to public health, safety, and welfare; the environment; and wildlife resources. The commission may assess and collect permitting and regulatory fees from the operators of direct air capture facilities.

The bill also establishes that:

  • Ownership of a portion of a pore space necessary for geologic storage (sequestration estate) is vested in the owner of the overlying surface estate if the sequestration estate has not been separately severed, conveyed, or reserved;
  • Any conveyance of the ownership of an overlying surface estate also conveys the grantor's ownership of any sequestration estate except in certain circumstances; and
  • A conveyance of the ownership of a mineral estate does not convey the grantor's ownership in the sequestration estate unless the conveyance instrument provides for the conveyance.

Upon application of any interested person, the commission must hold a hearing and enter an order (order) providing for the formation of a unit of one or more geologic storage resources (geologic storage unit) if the commission finds that the geologic storage unit is reasonably necessary to effectuate a geologic storage project. The order must include terms and conditions that are just and reasonable and establish a plan for operations of the geologic storage unit (plan). An order is effective only if the plan has been approved by those persons that collectively own at least 75% of the geologic storage resources included in the geologic storage unit area (required approval) and the commission makes a finding in the order of the required approval.

The bill also allows a local government to request that the director of the commission appoint a technical review board to assist a local government in analyzing and answering any technical questions regarding the local government's land use regulations.

The bill also requires the department of public health and environment (department) to develop carbon dioxide accounting procedures for geologic storage operations. and direct air capture facilities. The commission must compile relevant data to support the carbon dioxide accounting procedures and work collaboratively with the department in implementing the carbon dioxide accounting procedures. The commission and the department must also work collaboratively to address air emissions from direct air capture facilities and geologic storage operations.

(Note: Italicized words indicate new material added to the original summary; dashes through words indicate deletions from the original summary.)

(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)


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Bill Text

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