The Queensland Government in Australia has introduced legislation to regulate the geologic storage of greenhouse gas emissions. While the bill was introduced yesterday, it will not be debated until State Parliament resumes session next year. Mines and Energy Minister Geoff Wilson said, "It is recognized that there is no such thing as a perfect site for geological storage and the possibility of some minor carbon dioxide leakage must be acknowledged."
The bill would regulate onshore and near-shore CCS activities through a state-run licensing scheme. To engage in CCS, an operator would be required to obtain a "GHG authority" from the state, and the operational, monitoring, and remedial requirements for operating a CCS facility would be set by the bill. Additionally, the bill would overcome property rights complications associated with CCS by establishing that the right to the geologic storage space belongs, and always has belonged, to the state. Furthermore, the bill would provide a mechanism for resolving conflicts between holders of mineral rights and GHG authorities, as well as require CCS operators to provide financial assurances for their operations. Although further analysis of the bill is required, a first look suggests that the bill would not limit the long-term liability of a CCS operator.