The EPA today announced a propose rule for the geologic storage of carbon dioxide. There will be a 120 day period for public comment on the proposed rule and a public hearing in September. The EPA hopes to have the proposed rule completed and finalized by late 2010 or early 2011.

The proposed rules would regulate geologic storage of carbon dioxide under the Underground Injection Control program of the Safe Drinking Water Act.

One of the major pieces of the proposed rule includes the introduction of a Class VI well. The new Class VI well requirements would apply to carbon dioxide injection wells when the injection is specifically for the purpose of long term storage. Wells injecting carbon dioxide for enhanced oil and gas recovery would still fall into the Class II well.

According to a fact sheet of the proposed rule, further items discussed in the proposal are based on the existing Underground Injection Control regulatory framework with slight changes made for CO2 injection and geologic sequestration. Some of these include

  • Geologic site characterization to ensure that wells are appropriately sited;
  • Requirements to construct wells with injectate-compatible materials and in a manner that prevents fluid movement into unintended zones;
  • Periodic re-evaluation of the area of review around the injection well to incorporate monitoring and operational data and verify that the CO2 is moving as predicted within the subsurface;
  • Extended post-injection monitoring and site care to track the location of the injected CO2 and monitor subsurface pressures; and
  • Financial responsibility requirements to assure that funds will be available for well plugging, site care, closure, and emergency and remedial response.