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Site Selection Extremely Important In Underground Carbon Storage

The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing today on proposed projects to bury carbon dioxide underground. The main question being looked at is how federal and state governments can ensure that once injected deep into the earth, the CO2 will stay put. If it doesn’t, the gas has the potential to cause lead and arsenic contamination in drinking water sources.

Rep. Hilda Solis (D-Calif.) explained that when CO2 comes in contact with water, it can become corrosive, causing elements to leach from underground rock formations. This is an especially important issue for states like California that struggle with drought. Ongoing water battles could be exacerbated by underground CO2 leaking into the groundwater.

The EPA’s Benjamin Grumbles, who works on water issues, also testified today that if CO2 migrates into the groundwater it can make freshwater brackish — or salty — thus making once-clean drinking water unsafe to drink. It also ruins water used for agriculture and fisheries.

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