Obama memorandum creates CCS task force

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor
WASHINGTON, DC, Feb. 5 – US President Barack H. Obama issued a presidential memorandum creating an inter-agency task force to develop a comprehensive carbon capture and storage strategy.

Obama took the action on Feb. 3 as he also announced a series of steps involving biofuels, including the US Environmental Protection Agency’s finalizing a second, expanded renewable fuels standard. While the CCS initiative will have a bigger direct impact on coal producers and users, it potentially will affect oil and gas producers, several of whom already use carbon dioxide for enhanced oil recovery.

The memorandum reflected the president and administration’s strong commitment to developing a CCS strategy as part of its drive to build a clean energy economy, US Energy Secretary Steven Chu said on Feb. 3. “We can, and should, lead the world in this technology and the jobs it can create,” he maintained.

US Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency officials will chair the task force, which will develop within 6 months a plan to overcome barriers to widespread CCS deployment within 10 years, the White House said. It added that the group’s goals also will include bringing 5-10 commercial demonstration projects on line by 2016.

The memorandum also directs the task force to address incentives for CCS adoption and any financial, economic, technological, legal, institutional, or other barriers. It directs the group to consider the best ways to coordinate existing federal authorities and programs, and to identify areas where additional federal authority may be needed.

The task force periodically will report to the president through Council on Environmental Equality Chairwoman Nancy Sutley, the White House said.

DOE’s Fossil Energy Office already has created seven carbon sequestration partnerships which collectively represent regions encompassing 97% of the nation’s coal-fired CO2 emissions, 97% of its industrial CO2 emissions, 96% of its total land mass, and essentially all of the US geologic sites with carbon storage potential, according to information on its web site.
Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com

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