EPA approves its first underground CO2 storage permits [US]

 EPA has approved its first underground carbon dioxide (CO2) storage permits for carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), a key to the nation’s efforts to reduce the energy sector’s impact on climate change.

EPA has approved final permits for the FutureGen 2.0 CCS project in Illinois. The project aims to retrofit a coal-fired power plant in Illinois in order to capture 90 percent of its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Once the CO2 is captured on-site, it will then be transferred via pipeline to wells nearly 30 miles away that can hold over 20 million tons of CO2, which will be filled over the next 30 years. The project is part of a public-private partnership backed by $1 billion in Department of Energy funding.

The permits were issued under the Underground Injection Control Class VI program, a relatively new well designation that is necessary for power plants to implement CCS technology. While the project has received much support from both industry and environmentalists, some landowners and environmentalists voiced concern about the impact on water resources, and questioned the long-term capabilities of storing carbon dioxide underground.

The FutureGen permits are the first to be issued, but other projects are expected to be permitted and on-line in the near future, including another project in Illinois, and CCS projects in Mississippi and Texas.

Red-on-line EHS Legal Counsel

Sources : Emily Atkin, Coal Plant Gets EPA’s First-Ever Approval to Inject Carbon Emissions Underground, Thinkprogress.org, September 4, 2014