On Wednesday, June 27, 2013, the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) published an assessment finding that the United States had the capacity to store up to 3.7 trillion metric tons of carbon dioxide in 36 geological basins located throughout the country. The assessment followed the unveiling of President Obama's Climate Action Plan that proposed to offer up to $8 billion in loan guarantees for advanced fossil energy projects, including carbon sequestration projects. The assessment did not, however, evaluate the economic or technical viability of accessing and storing carbon dioxide in these geologic basins. Please click here to go to DOI's website that contains more information on this assessment.
U.S. EPA had already proposed to exempt carbon dioxide streams injected into the these geologic basins from the purview of federal hazardous waste regulations. However, the President has yet to act on the proposed rule, which has been under White House review since April. DOI's assessment, in conjunction with the proposed rule exempting these waste streams from hazardous waste regulations, will likely be relied upon by the both the Obama administration and U.S. EPA to justify requiring carbon capture and storage in any proposed NSPS for new coal facilities.