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EPA Proposes CO2 Underground Storage Regs

co2seques.jpgEPA is proposing regulation on the injection of carbon dioxide deep underground, a process also known as geologic sequestration.

The proposal seeks permission for a new class of injection wells-Class VI– under the authority of the Safe Drinking Water Act’s Underground Injection Control program, and hopes to secure long-term storage for carbon dioxide underground.

EPA Regions and Primacy States currently permit injection wells associated with research and development projects as Class V wells.

The proposed rule builds on the existing UIC program, which has requirements to ensure wells are appropriately located, constructed, tested, monitored, and ultimately, closed with proper funding.

The proposal will apply to well owners or operators of wells that will be used to inject carbon dioxide. It will also affect state agencies that choose to administer the program in the future.

According to the EPA, the annual cost associated with the implementation of the rule are estimated to be around $15 million.

While the proposal builds on previous regulations, the modifications address:
1.    The unique nature of CO2 injection for GS
2.    The relative buoyancy of CO2, its corrosivity in the presence of water
3.    The potential presence of impurities in captured CO2
4.    The mobility of CO2 within subsurface formations

According to the EPA, there are plenty of CO2 storage potential in the U.S. Around 95 percent of the stationary carbon dioxide emission sources are within 50 miles of a candidate for CO2 underground storage.

EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson says that with proper site selection and management, geologic sequestration could play a major role in reducing emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

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