The Energy and Telecommunications Interim Committee of the Montana State Legislature has completed a draft study of geological and terrestrial carbon sequestration regulatory and policy issues in the state. The draft study was presented at a recent meeting of the Interim Committee, at which draft CCS legislation was also discussed.

The proposed legislation includes a bill addressing ownership of subsurface property rights relevant to CCS, as well as one calling on Interim Committee to conduct a study of “jurisdictional matters, liabilities, and costs" associated with CCS. Both laws, if passed, would go into effect on July 1, 2009. However, at its recent hearing, the Interim Committee opted to postpone further action on the former without further study of the legal and technical aspects of CCS.

It is worth noting that the Interim Committee had prepared the Draft Study before EPA's recent announcement of its proposed rule on CCS. It remains to be seen how and to what extent such policy guidance from EPA will advance the efforts of states like Montana to refine and solidify their own regulatory and property-rights schemes for CCS.