Assessing a Liability Regime for Carbon Capture and Storage

Elizabeth J Wilson, Alexandra B Klass, Sara Bergan

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


As the private sector and government begin to spend billions of dollars to research and deploy carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, the question of legal liability for managing short-term and long-term environmental, health and safety risks must be addressed. We examine potential CCS liability within a U.S. context and survey the existing environmental and tort law liability regimes that may affect CCS. We conclude that while existing liability regimes are insufficient on their own to govern the CCS industry, they could provide important risk management tools and serve as safeguards to private parties and governments in the event of harm. We also propose a model for long term stewardship, blending including bonding, insurance, and pooled federal funding into commercial CCS project management to better provide financial security to investors without destroying existing liability protections for those who may suffer harm from CCS. This proposal offers a starting point to develop a model to integrate liability for the nascent CCS industry. A longer version of this paper can be found in the Emory Law Review, Fall 2008.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4575-4582
Number of pages8
JournalEnergy Procedia
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2009
Event9th International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies, GHGT-9 - Washington DC, United States
Duration: Nov 16 2008Nov 20 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful for financial support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (Grant 2007117) to Carnegie Mellon University, Department of Engineering and Public Policy for the project, "Regulation of Capture and Deep Geological Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide". Views expressed in this paper are those of the authors. A longer version of this paper is available in the Emory Law Review, Fall 2008.


  • Bonding
  • Carbon capture and storage
  • Common law
  • Federal preemption
  • Insurance
  • Liability


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