McKinley Introduces Legislation to Cut Red Tape for Carbon Capture Projects

Bill Expedites State Primacy Application Process at the EPA, Gives States Power to Enforce Class VI Well Programs

Today, Congressman David B. McKinley, P.E. (W.Va.-01) introduced the “Well Primacy Certainty Act” to cut bureaucratic red tape and make it easier to develop carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) projects and infrastructure. This bill would expedite the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) application processes to allow states to assume responsibility (primacy) from the EPA to store carbon dioxide securely underground.

“If we are serious about being a world leader on the climate, the implementation and development of American carbon capture technology and infrastructure should be near the top of the list,” said Rep. McKinley. “Unfortunately, bureaucracy and red tape at the EPA are hampering our ability to develop projects. This legislation will help expedite the EPA’s application and approval processes for state primacy, which will ultimately give power to the states to create an environment for carbon capture, utilization, and storage technologies to thrive.”

“Carbon capture technologies are vital for strengthening American competitiveness and reducing global emissions. The Class VI permit and primacy approval process must become more efficient to enable the widespread buildout of carbon capture projects," said Rich Powell, CEO of ClearPath Action. "The Well Primacy Certainty Act, introduced by Rep. McKinley, will modernize the federal permitting process for Class VI wells by requiring EPA to issue more timely decisions on state applications for primacy, consistent with the spirit of cooperative federalism.”

Read the Well Primacy Certainty Act

What the Bill Does

To date, North Dakota and Wyoming have obtained Class VI primacy, and a number of others have undertaken steps to begin assuming primacy from EPA. Those states include Arizona, Louisiana, Texas, and West Virginia. EPA, however, has taken longer than it should in moving applications through the statutory process for approval, most recently in Louisiana. The goal of this bill is to rectify that issue and expedite the permitting process by:

  1. Encouraging EPA to work “as expeditiously as possible” with States to complete pre-application activities;
  2. Tightening the timeline for EPA’s decision on a state application for primacy by:
    1. Clarifying the phrase “and after reasonable opportunity for presentation of views;”
    2. Formalizing the notice-and-comment process; and
    3. If EPA has not made a decision on a state application for primacy within the statutorily required 90-day period, deeming the application “approved”; and
  3. Authorizing the use of funds included in the IIJA for EPA’s Class VI well program for hiring an individual to coordinate the review of state primacy applications across EPA program offices.


BACKGROUND:

In March 2022, Congressman David B. McKinley (W. Va.-01) and U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W. Va.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) sent a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urging them to work expeditiously to approve applications from States that will allow them to assume responsibility (primacy) from EPA to store carbon dioxide securely underground.

This process is an integral part of the deployment of carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS). The members requested an update on the implementation of permitting provisions for carbon dioxide storage included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

Read the letter

 

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