EPA Proposes Rule for Burying CO2
On Tuesday the EPA announced the first proposed rule for underground storage of CO2, a process intended to curb global warming. The rule targets pilot projects that seek to inject carbon into the ground and store it there — a method called geologic sequestration.
At a press conference, EPA assistant administrator for water Benjamin Grumbles explained that the new rule aims to enforce monitoring to safeguard this risky practice of burying CO2.
Grumbles spoke mainly about the threat of CO2 migrating into groundwater. He spoke in general terms and did not detail what kind of monitoring will be in place or how authorities would deal with a situation if CO2 did migrate into the drinking water.
The new rule will also encompass the threat of leakage — that is, the accidental release of CO2 from the ground’s surface and into the air. As I hear more from the EPA, and other sources, I’ll be writing more about the potential threats of CO2 leakage and migration.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on the EPA’s proposed rule next week. Rep. Gene Green (D-Tex.), chairman of the environment and hazardous materials subcommittee, has said that he welcomes the testimony of the EPA’s Grumbles since "Congress has to make sure the EPA’s carbon sequestration rules protect our sources of drinking water from contamination…"
The public comment period on the EPA’s proposed rule is currently open. A finalized rule isn’t expected until 2010 or 2011.