Committee Adopts Carbon Rule Change

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Members of Wyoming's Environmental Quality Council adopted a proposed rule change that outlines regulations for carbon sequestration on Wednesday. The rule change creates risk assessment, bonding, and financial assurance regulations.

Carbon sequestration is a relatively new technology and has already had some success. It involves injecting carbon dioxide into salt or rock formations. When the CO2 is injected, it essentially becomes a solid. This new technology has a strong potential to help with CO2 disposal, and while there isn't a market for carbon sequestration in Wyoming at the moment, there could be.

Laura Ladd of Hewitt Ladd Inc. said, “We didn't want to be late to the party if and when the market did develop.”

Currently, anyone hoping to perform CO2 injection in Wyoming would need a permit from the EPA. This rule mirrors the EPA's regulations, but puts Wyoming in charge of permitting within the state. It could also make the permitting process a lot more efficient. But council members weren't just concerned about efficiency—they were also worried about safety.

Another board member raised concerns. “We think we've got a vault down there that's pretty fool proof,” he said. “And then we have a little shift in land, a little earthquake, or maybe just a fissure that we all missed. And now we have a bunch of stuff down there that's coming out. And I've never been comfortable with this.”

Ladd responded, “It is a key support for why you need to do probabilistic modeling and run any number of scenarios through the system.”

Ladd admitted that one of the biggest risks is health.

Ladd explained, “Human health effects are probably the largest dollar risk when we were going through and identifying what could happen and how much could it cost. Water contamination and effects to human health were paramount.”

But council members believed these rule proposals were a strong start for an industry that isn't in the state yet.

The rule will now go through the attorney general's office to make sure it's consistent with federal statutes. Then, it will move to the legislative management committee, and finally head the governor’s office for signing.