With many companies making commitments to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, they are also exploring different methods to do so, including carbon capture and storage. Carbon capture and storage separates the carbon dioxide from the emissions of industrial processes and stores it underground. The carbon dioxide is injected into a deep geological formation, separate from groundwater, that traps and stores the carbon dioxide similar to how injection wells are used in oil and gas production. When the carbon dioxide is injected, it spreads out (still deeply stored) from the injection site. This requires companies to purchase the subsurface rights of adjacent properties to ensure they are accounting for the carbon dioxide spreading out after it is injected.
Farmers may interact with a carbon capture and storage project in a few ways. Generally, the source of carbon dioxide (e.g., a power plant) is not located near an underground geologic formation suitable for storing carbon dioxide. Pipelines are the preferred method to transport carbon dioxide to the injection location. Farmers may be approached by a company wanting to run a pipeline through their property. In addition, while not as frequent, a farmer may be approached to locate an injection site on their land. This would require surface access for the injection point, but potentially also for roads and other infrastructure. Lastly (and most frequent), a farmer may be approached by a company looking to purchase subsurface rights for the carbon dioxide spreading out from the injection site post-injection. Considering the above, farmers should require and carefully review contracts to ensure they clearly spell out terms and conditions, payments, and subsurface/surface rights.
Thoughts to Consider
- Should Michigan Farm Bureau have policy on farmer protections (payments, surface/subsurface rights, etc.) regarding carbon capture and storage? If so, what protections should be outlined?
- Are there similar situations or technologies farmers are being approached about regarding greenhouse gas emissions reductions that aren’t covered in Michigan Farm Bureau policy? If yes, what should be added?