I have been somewhat curious about how states (which typically have primary authority for regulating waste management and disposal activities) approach CO2 geologic sequestration since CO2 is not a regulated solid waste. This article from the Texas Environmental Law Journal answered the question (thanks to Mike Dillinger for bringing this forward on LinkedIn):
“To inject carbon dioxide into a Class VI well and sequester it, an entity must apply for a permit. EPA initially has primacy over all Class VI well applications, but states may apply for primacy. Currently, only two states have applied for and received Class VI primacy—North Dakota and Wyoming. …
Texas has initiated the process for gaining primacy over Class VI wells. Currently, however, EPA retains primacy. As such, interested entities must apply for permits through both EPA and the Railroad Commission, the state agency in charge of regulating Class VI wells.… Texas is not the only state seeking primacy for Class VI well permits; Louisiana has also applied and is waiting on a decision from EPA. While there is currently only one Class VI Well application pending for Texas, there are 15 pending applications for Louisiana.“
I’m not sure if contingency plans are required by the Class VI regulations, but companies would be well-advised to develop plans for CO2 injection technology/equipment failure even if this is not required by the permitting regulations. I wrote last year about CO2 release risks and how an existing EPA regulation may be a viable model for CO2 contingency plans:
“any company involved in underground injection of CO2 should learn about the 1986 Lake Nyos incident in Cameroon that killed 1,700 people and 3,000 domestic animals. Yes, this was a natural occurrence, but the point is the effect of a massive acute CO2 emissions event. In the U.S. under EPA’s Risk Management Program (RMP), companies managing specific chemicals have to conduct Off-Site Consequence Analyses to identify ‘sensitive receptors’ within a certain radius from the facility, estimate the population at risk within that radius and develop an emergency response plan in the event of a worst case and alternative scenario chemical release. RMP may be a good model for CCS facilities to consider to avoid a anthropogenic Lake Nyos event.”
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