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In Cheyenne, EPA Announces Wyoming’s Primacy for Class VI Underground Injection Control Program, Highlights Final Power Plant Effluent Limitation Guidelines Rule

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EPA Press Office ( )

Cheyenne, Wyo. (September 4, 2020) — Yesterday, at a press conference U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Associate Deputy Administrator Doug Benevento joined Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon, Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Director Todd Parfitt, and EPA Region 8 Administrator Greg Sopkin to announce the approval of Wyoming’s request for primary enforcement responsibility (primacy) for Class VI wells under the Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program. They also highlighted the final revisions to specific effluent guidelines and standards for “steam electric” power plants, which will reduce pollution nationwide by nearly a million pounds per year over the 2015 rule while saving the U.S. power sector approximately $140 million annually, including saving power plants in Wyoming $8.1 million per year.

“The Trump Administration is empowering states like Wyoming to develop and manage strong programs that protect the environment and public health while supporting local economies,” said EPA Associate Deputy Administrator Doug Benevento. “With this important action, EPA is recognizing Wyoming as a proven partner in the safe and responsible management of drinking water.”

“This final rule exemplifies our commitment to ensuring states like Wyoming have primacy over programs that directly affect their citizens,” said EPA Region 8 Administrator Greg Sopkin. “My office enjoys a great working relationship with the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality and it’s through these actions that we continue to protect human health and the environment.”

“Wyoming was proud to host the EPA in Cheyenne today to share this very important update that will affect the future of Wyoming, our coal and power plants that burn our coal,” said Governor Mark Gordon. “Our newfound Class VI injection well regulatory primacy is part of the State's larger strategy to keep coal burning, reduce carbon emissions and keep jobs in Wyoming. The advancements we’ve made in carbon capture research alongside the Department of Energy and the strategic partnerships we’ve formed uniquely position the State to extend the life of coal and reduce emissions.”

“The Trump administration is supporting states taking the lead to address a changing climate through innovative technologies, not crushing regulation,” said U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY). “This final rule will give Wyoming the authority to permit many more carbon capture projects. Wyoming is blessed with an abundance of resources like coal, natural gas, and oil that power America’s homes and businesses. Under the EPA’s final rule, Washington will recognize Wyoming’s expertise in capturing excess carbon and sequestering it underground.”

“As a leader in the energy industry, Wyoming has the know-how to manage its own program that will provide for the future of clean coal, such as carbon capture and sequestration,” said U.S. Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY). “I applaud the EPA for cementing this new rule granting Wyoming this important authority. Investments made to advance new coal technologies allows for more affordable energy options for Americans – and allows Wyoming to continue being a leader in fueling the nation.”

“I applaud the EPA for signing this final rule that gives Wyoming the ability to enforce regulations over Class VI wells in our state. The Trump Administration correctly recognizes that these decisions are best made by state and local officials, instead of heavy-handed mandates passed down from federal bureaucrats. Because of this rule, our state will now have more freedom to craft these rules in a way that works best for us, allowing for expanded growth and new opportunities. I look forward to working with President Trump and the EPA on additional ways that we can return more decision-making authority to the state and local level,” said U.S. Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-WY). 

The announcement will give Wyoming—a proven partner in the safe and responsible management of drinking water—more autonomy to protect groundwater for Wyomingites. This marks the second time that any state has received primacy for Class VI UIC wells, which are used for the long-term storage of carbon dioxide captured from industrial and energy related sources.

EPA’s approval will be effective upon publication in the Federal Register and the agency will work with the state to ensure a smooth transition of this program. More information:

During the press conference, EPA also highlighted another step the Trump Administration took earlier this week to advance American energy independence and protect the environment. On Monday, EPA announced final revisions to specific effluent guidelines and standards for “steam electric” power plants. The final rule revises an unworkable 2015 Obama-era regulation by leveraging newer, more affordable pollution control technologies to reduce more pollution at lower cost.

The agency’s final Steam Electric Reconsideration rule revises requirements for two waste streams from steam electric power plants: flue gas desulfurization (FGD) wastewater and bottom ash (BA) transport water. Key changes to the 2015 rule include:

  • Changing the technology-basis for treatment of FGD wastewater and BA transport water.

  • Establishing new compliance dates.

  • Revising the voluntary incentives program for FGD wastewater.

  • Adding subcategories for high-flow units, low-utilization units and those that will cease the combustion of coal by 2028 and finalizing requirements that are tailored to facilities in these subcategories.

For more information on EPA’s final Steam Electric ELG Reconsideration rule: