Eight US business groups, representing five US states, have raised concerns related to uncertain permitting timelines for Class VI injection wells, or CO2 injection wells, and the lengthy process for states to secure primacy.
In a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), addressed to Administrator Michael Regan, the group said they are joining the growing bipartisan chorus of stakeholders and policymakers that are calling attention to the lack of movement that is obstructing needed investments in CCS.
Representatives from the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, the Illinois Manufacturers Association, the Chemical Industry Council of Illinois, the Pennsylvania Chemical Industry Council, the West Virginia Manufacturers Association, the Texas Economic Development Council, and the Greater Houston Partnership all signed the letter.
Those organisations suggest that while CCS has been given full support from the Biden Administration, the permitting process for CO2 injection wells has been stagnant since the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) was approved.
This week’s letter isn’t the first time these concerns have been raised to the EPA.
As the letter highlights, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards recently wrote to the agency expressing a frustration that “a recurring question is if and when Louisiana will receive primacy.”
He also indicated that the lack of certainty in his state’s primacy application and stunting potential investments.
Those who signed this week’s letter have said they agree with Governor Edwards’ concerns, stating the certainty and predictability are key factors that businesses and producers need to make definite investments in CCS technology.
Senators Joe Manchin, Bill Cassidy and John Barrasso also recently voiced concern over the lack of progress in permitting dozens in Class VI wells and what the implications this could have on the nation’s environmental goals.
The letter reads, “States have demonstrated for decades the importance of primacy over all classes of injection wells – not only for faster permitting, but for ensuring that these operations adhere to the unique environmental standards within our individual boarders.”
It also highlights that many states have regulations that far exceed the standards EPA has set.
The letter continues, “Granting states primacy to approve Class VI injection wells would expedite and streamline the permitting process, so that the US does not fall behind on this technology that is critical to major emissions reductions across multiple sectors.”
To date, only two states have been granted primacy over Class VI injection wells, North Dakota and Wyoming. No approvals have been granted since the prior administration, despite strong bipartisan support for CCS, including from the White House and Biden administration.
As the letter highlights, four states currently have pending primacy applications, with at least eight more expressing interest in applying. More than 30 proposed Class VI permits remain under review by the EPA some of which have been in a queue for years.
And while the passing on the Inflation Reduction Act may have seem like a positive for the carbon capture industry, the letter states otherwise.
“Zero permits have been granted since the passage of the IRA – widely heralded as the most ambitious climate legislation in US history – or the 2021 Infrastructure Act, which established $50m to assist states in the primacy process,” the letter reads.
The letter concludes, “We appreciate the Biden-Harris Administration’s public declarations and funding commitments to support the growing CCS industry. Now, it is time to put those words into action, beginning with the expeditious approval of state primacy applications for Class VI injection wells.”