$50 Million for carbon sequestration and groundwater protection projects

Feb 15, 2023

Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of $50 million in grant funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help states, Tribes and territories develop and implement Underground Injection Control (UIC) Class VI programs.

Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, Class VI programs ensure that groundwater resources are protected while supporting geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide (CO₂) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change.

EPA supports efforts by states, Tribes, and territories to implement existing primacy programs and seek primary enforcement and permitting responsibility (primacy) for Class VI programs. EPA is inviting states, Tribes and territories to submit letters of intent to indicate their interest in this new funding, and interested parties have until March 20, 2023 to submit their letters. After receiving submissions, EPA will determine funding allocations and award the full $50 million in a one-time distribution.

As a condition of receiving funding, applicants to the new Class VI UIC grant program must demonstrate how environmental justice and equity considerations will be incorporated into their Class VI UIC primacy programs. Primacy program commitments may include identifying communities with potential environmental justice concerns, enhancing public involvement, appropriately scoped environmental justice assessments, enhancing transparency throughout the permitting process and minimizing adverse effects associated with permitting actions.

Class VI wells

The geologic sequestration of CO₂ in UIC Class VI wells is used in carbon capture and storage to prevent CO₂ emissions from industrial sources from reaching the atmosphere. The CO₂ is injected through specially constructed wells that extend into deep rock formations. These formations must be tested and selected based on geologic characteristics suitable for the safe containment of CO₂ for long-term storage. This technology will provide well-paying jobs and promote environmentally responsible industry. EPA has, under the Safe Drinking Water Act, developed stringent federal requirements for injecting COEPA has, under the Safe Drinking Water Act, developed stringent federal requirements for injecting CO₂ that protect public health by ensuring injection
wells do not contaminate underground sources of drinking water (USDWs). These UIC regulations mandate using a variety of measures to assure that injection activities will not endanger USDWs.

Measures for groundwater protection

Class VI well requirements are designed to protect underground sources of drinking water (USDWs). Requirements address siting, construction, operation, testing, monitorin and closure of the wells.

The regulations address the unique nature of CO injection for GS, including the:

  • Relative buoyancy of CO
  • Subsurface mobility
  • Corrosivity in the presence of water
  • Large injection volumes anticipated at GS projects.

In December 2010, EPA published the Federal Requirements Under the Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program for Carbon Dioxide (CO) Geologic Sequestration (GS) Wells Final Rule (Class VI Rule).

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