EPA Approves Carbon Dioxide Sequestration in North Dakota

May 31, 2017

Sequestration of waste CO2 in old gas wells will be a boon for the coal industry.

According to an Associated Press bulletin by Blake Nicholson reported in enr.com, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, Scott Pruitt, has approved a proposal that would “make North Dakota the first state with the power to regulate underground wells used for long-term storage of waste carbon dioxide (CO2) captured from industrial sources such as coal-fired plants.” The process, according to Mr. Pruitt, is necessary because “CO2 is a greenhouse gas said to contribute to global warming.”

This will help the coal industry in North Dakota and set a precedent for similar arrangements with other coal-producing states.

The proposal will go into effect if it meets with no major opposition during the mandatory “60-day public comment period.”

Mr. Pruitt claims that “giving the state authority over CO2 wells, known as Class VI wells, could advance carbon capture and sequestration technology.”

The state regulated procedures will have to be at least as “stringent as federal standards approved in 2010 and the EPA will oversee the program.” This requirement is in keeping with long-standing EPA protocols.

One of the primary reasons North Dakota was selected for this pilot program is that the University of North Dakota’s Energy and Environmental Research Center has been conducting research “on carbon capture technology since 2003.”

The state’s industrial commission is dedicated to balancing industrial development with environmental concerns. The EPA also took this into consideration in making their decision to allow North Dakota to manage regulation of CO2 sequestration.

The proposal has bipartisan support in the state’s Congressional delegation.


EPA Signs Off on N.D. Plan for Regulating Sequestration of CO2 in Old Gas Wells, Blake Nicholson, Associated Press, as reported in enr.com, May 5, 2017.