Proposed personal injury liability protection for carbon sequestration projects in Missouri
From Missouri Digital News: https://mdn.org
MDN Menu

MDN Home

Journalist's Creed

Print

MDN Help

MDN.ORG: Missouri Digital News
MDN Menu

MDN Home

Journalist's Creed

Print

MDN Help

MDN.ORG Mo. Digital News Missouri Digital News MDN.ORG: Mo. Digital News MDN.ORG: Missouri Digital News
Lobbyist Money Help  

Proposed personal injury liability protection for carbon sequestration projects in Missouri

Date: March 10, 2009
By: Elizabeth Billingsley
State Capitol Bureau
Links: SB 391

Intro: [This report follows Christine Slusser's report.]

Senator Kurt Schaefer proposes a legal tactic that could make Missouri the nation's leader in carbon sequestration projects.

RunTime:1:37
OutCue: SOC

Columbia Senator Kurt Schaefer wants Missouri to lead the nation in developing carbon sequestration technology.

As an incentive, Schaefer wants to offer willing companies like Springfield's City Utilities, limited liability protection.

 

Actuality:  SCHAE.WAV
Run Time: 00:10
Description: We need to be at the forefront in the state of Missouri for providing an opportunity for this research to be done and take away some of the concern on unknown liabilities for some of those entities.
 
There are no current laws on the books that govern underground carbon storage.  

Schaefer's bill would add a new liability cap limiting damages for personal injuries or death at $300,000 per person or $2 million total for all claimants. 
 
The bill also would prohibit punitive damages, but would not apply to property or environmental damage that happen during the carbon sequestration process.  
 
But the prospect of limiting potential damages does not sit well with plaintiff's attorneys.
 
Kenneth Vuylsteke (Vul - stek) of the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys says extending liability caps provides the wrong incentives to private companies.
 
Actuality:  VUYLST2.WAV
Run Time: 00:11
Description: We're concerned that given the lack of liability for this type of new technology, they would be less careful in introducing it and people in Missouri could be injured or even killed by it.

 
Schaefer's fellow GOP Senator Matt Bartle expressed concern, saying if the bill passes, it would set a bad precedent with other industries seeking similar protections.
 
Other states that have proposed coal sequestration projects, like Illinois and Kentucky, have forced the companies to assume full liability for potential damages.
 
For Christine Slusser, I'm Elizabeth Billingsley from the State Capitol.