EPA seeks to ease carbon storage barriers

Today’s proposal will exclude from EPA’s hazardous waste regulations CO2 streams that are injected for geologic sequestration in wells designated for this purpose under the Safe Drinking Water Act. EPA is proposing this exclusion as part of the agency’s effort to reduce barriers to the use of CCS technologies ...

Based on review of existing regulatory programs, EPA’s proposal concludes that the management of CO2 streams under the proposed conditions does not present a substantial risk to people’s health or the environment, provides regulatory certainty to industries considering the use of CCS technologies, and encourages the deployment of CCS technologies in a safe and environmentally protective manner.

The proposal comes at a time when efforts to trap carbon from coal-fired power plants — which are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions — face financial and political barriers and remain far from commercial deployment.

Utility giant American Electric Power recently shelved a major project at a West Virginia power plant, dealing a blow to efforts to boost deployment of the technology.

The company cited the “uncertain status of U.S. climate policy” and the weak economy in suspending the project.