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EPA Rule Provides a Clear Pathway for Using Carbon Capture and Sequestration Technologies

Release Date: 12/19/2013
Contact Information: George Hull, hull.george@epa.gov, 202-564-0790, 202-564-4355

WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule that helps create a consistent national framework to ensure the safe and effective deployment of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technologies.

“Carbon capture and sequestration technology can help us reduce carbon pollution and move us toward a cleaner, more stable environment,” said Mathy Stanislaus, EPA assistant administrator for Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “Today’s rule provides regulatory clarity to help facilitate the implementation of this technology in a safe and responsible way.”

CCS technologies allow carbon dioxide to be captured at stationary sources - like coal-fired power plants and large industrial operations - and injected underground for long-term storage in a process called geologic sequestration.

The new rule clarifies that carbon dioxide streams captured from emission sources, injected underground via UIC Class VI wells approved for the purpose of geologic sequestration under the Safe Drinking Water Act, and meeting certain other conditions (e.g., compliance with applicable transportation regulations), will be excluded from EPA’s hazardous waste regulations. Further, EPA clarifies that carbon dioxide injected underground via UIC Class II wells for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) is not expected to be a waste management activity.

EPA concluded that the careful management of carbon dioxide streams under the specified conditions does not present a substantial risk to human health or the environment. EPA’s determination will help provide a clear pathway for the deployment of CCS technologies in a safe and environmentally protective manner while also ensuring protection of underground sources of drinking water.

Today’s rule is complementary to previous EPA rulemakings, including Safe Drinking Water Act regulations that ensure the Class VI injection wells are appropriately sited, constructed, tested, monitored, and closed.

EPA is also releasing draft guidance for public comment that provides information regarding transitioning Class II wells used to inject carbon dioxide for oil and gas development to Class VI wells used for carbon capture and sequestration. The comment period for the draft guidance is 75 days.

Information on the final rule –
http://www.epa.gov/wastes/nonhaz/industrial/geo-sequester/

Information on the Geologic Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide:
http://water.epa.gov/type/groundwater/uic/wells_sequestration.cfm

Read the draft guidance on transitioning from Class II to Class VI wells:
http://water.epa.gov/type/groundwater/uic/class6/gsguidedoc.cfm