EPA Makes Available US$50M For Underground Injection Control Programmes
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the availability of US$50 million in grant funding to help develop and implement Underground Injection Control (UIC) Class VI programmes.
UIC Class VI programmes ensure that groundwater resources are protected while supporting the geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide (CO2) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change.
“EPA is excited to provide funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to our state and Tribal partners to develop programs that protect our essential groundwater resources and combat the climate crisis,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “This funding demonstrates just one of the many ways EPA is working collaboratively to ensure that all people have clean and safe water.”
The agency is inviting states, Tribes, and territories to submit letters of intent to indicate their interest in this new funding, and interested parties have until March 20, 2023 to submit their letters. After receiving submissions, EPA will determine funding allocations and award the full US$50 million in a one-time distribution.
EPA supports efforts by states, Tribes, and territories to seek primary enforcement and permitting responsibility (primacy) for Class VI programmes and to implement existing primacy programs.
As a condition of receiving funding, EPA says that applicants to the new Class VI UIC grant program must demonstrate how environmental justice and equity considerations will be incorporated into their Class VI UIC primacy programs. Primacy programme commitments may include identifying communities with potential environmental justice concerns, enhancing public involvement, appropriately scoped environmental justice assessments, enhancing transparency throughout the permitting process, and minimizing adverse effects associated with permitting actions.
Background on Underground Injection Control
The geologic sequestration of CO2 in UIC Class VI wells is used in carbon capture and storage to prevent CO2 emissions from industrial sources from reaching the atmosphere. The CO2 is injected through specially constructed wells that extend into deep rock formations. These formations must be tested and selected based on geologic characteristics suitable for the safe containment of CO2 for long-term storage.
EPA has, under the Safe Drinking Water Act, developed stringent federal requirements for injecting CO2 that protect public health by ensuring injection wells do not contaminate underground sources of drinking water. UIC regulations mandate using a variety of measures to assure that injection activities will not endanger these sources of drinking water.