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Montana, Saskatchewan and Canadian government: development partners

Brief description:

On May 7, 2009, officials in the US state of Montana and the Canadian province of Saskatchewan signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a $230 million project to retrofit an existing coal-fired power plant, Boundary Dam, owned by SaskPower, with CO2 capture technology, piping the captured CO2 to northern Montana where it would be injected into deep geological formations for storage. Saskatchewan pledged $42 million while Montana sought a $100-million grant in addition to its contributions of a CO2 pipeline and underground storage facilities. the project has since made huge strides, to become a world leading CCS project with the potential to become the first large-scale integrated CCS project at a coal-fired power plant.

In March 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that the Government of Canada would also back the Boundary Dam scheme, and would include $240 million in his government's 2008 Budget.

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer signed a bill in 2009 that created the regulatory guidelines for storing CO2 underground in Montana. The bill resolved the question of how long a company would be required to monitor a site and remain liable after finishing its CO2 injection in Montana. Under Senate Bill 498, a storage company could transfer a site to the state if it is problem free after 30 years, with the Montana Land Board having final authority to decide if the state should assume liability. If approved, the state would then assume site monitoring and liability obligations. Also, the bill gives ownership of underground pore space to surface landowners. The Montana Land Board is responsible for overseeing the management of 5.2 million acres of school trust land in Montana.