House Committee Examines EPA Carbon Sequestration Rule

By Berndt, Carolyn | Nation's Cities Weekly, August 4, 2008 | Go to article overview
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House Committee Examines EPA Carbon Sequestration Rule


Berndt, Carolyn, Nation's Cities Weekly


At a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Hazardous Materials, lawmakers expressed concern over a proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule to inject carbon dioxide underground, saying there could be unintended consequences and could cause new environmental programs.

EPA's proposed rule is aimed at protecting drinking water sources during and after the sequestration process. Carbon dioxide would be captured from power plants, industrial facilities and other sources, then compressed and injected deep into the Earth.

"It would be a grave error to move forward with technology that would replace one environmental problem with another environmental problem," said Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.).

Part of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), passed in 1974, required EPA to report back to Congress on waste disposal practices and develop minimum federal requirements to protect public health by preventing contamination of underground sources of drinking water.

The EPA proposal is meant to prevent carbon dioxide from migrating into underground water supplies and compromising drinking water sources by creating a consistent, national framework under the SDWA's Underground Injection Control (UIC) program.

Under the UIC program, injection wells are mostly regulated by states; 33 states have full enforcement responsibility and authority to administer programs on their lands, while the others either share responsibility and authority with EPA or EPA is fully in charge.

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