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EPA Takes Step Toward Granting Wyoming Primacy for Certain Underground Injection Wells

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WASHINGTON (April 1, 2020) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is asking for public input on the agency’s intent to approve the State of Wyoming’s request to have primary responsibility (primacy) for enforcing regulation of Class VI wells under the Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program. Once final, Wyoming will be the second state, along with North Dakota, that has received primacy for Class VI UIC wells under the Safe Drinking Water Act, which can be used for storage of carbon dioxide captured from industrial and energy related sources.

“Wyoming is a proven partner as we work together to ensure the safe and responsible protection of groundwater,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “EPA supports Wyoming’s leadership in protecting their natural resources and environment and we encourage other states to follow their example to implement and enforce this important program under the Safe Drinking Water Act.”

“Wyoming is ready and capable of permitting many more carbon capture projects,” said U.S. Senator John Barrasso, Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. “EPA’s proposal will give Wyoming that important authority. 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 proposal, Washington will recognize Wyoming’s expertise in capturing excess carbon and sequestering it underground. EPA’s proposal is a great example of Washington supporting leadership by states to address a changing climate through innovative technologies, not crushing regulation. The development of carbon capture technologies is very promising and holds the key to significant carbon emissions reductions.”

“This has been a long, sometimes winding, process to reach where we are today," said Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon. “Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality staff, the Legislature, the Trump Administration and others have worked very hard to move this forward. By gaining primacy, the State of Wyoming is in the best position to ensure that this activity is overseen correctly, the process is efficient and our natural resources are developed and protected.”

After conducting a thorough review, EPA has determined that the State of Wyoming meets the requirements to implement and enforce a Class VI injection program. EPA is requesting public comments on the Agency’s decision within 45 days after date of publication in the Federal Register. EPA requests that comments be sent via the Federal Register, docket number EPA-HQ-OW-2020-0123.

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