A collation representing businesses from multiple industries in five states has sent a letter to the EPA requesting that applications for Class VI wells be reviewed and approved by states. Class VI wells are used for injecting carbon dioxide and processing documents faster would remove a bottleneck for the growing number of carbon capture projects in the U.S.
“Zero permits have been granted since the passage of the IRA – widely heralded as the most ambitious climate legislation in U.S. history – or the 2021 Infrastructure Act, which established $50 million to assist states in the primacy process.”
The call comes after a sizeable increase in carbon capture projects followed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 that provided a substantial increase to the 45Q tax credit which is used to incentivize them.
As it stands, the EPA has full control over the review and approval of permits for all states but two – Wyoming and North Dakota. Signatories on this letter came from five other states – Illinois, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Texas and West Virginia – all of which have carbon capture and storage projects already in the works that have stalled because of the alleged red tape from the EPA.
The last weeks and months have seen states move forward with requests to manage their own Class VI wells. In early February New Mexico saw progress with a bill for funding carbon storage. If enacted by the state senate it will provide $2.4 million of funds, so that New Mexico can seek primacy over its Class VI wells.
Several days ago Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards received confirmation that his request for control over the approval process is being reviewed by the EPA, potentially removing barriers for carbon capture projects in the state.
There has also been opposition to carbon capture projects in several states. Farmers in Iowa and Illinois have opposed pipeline projects that go through their lands, while a parish in Livingston, Louisiana has imposed a moratorium on carbon wells.