Forest Service Looks At Carbon Capture

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Forest Service announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would allow the agency to consider proposals for potential carbon capture and sequestration projects on national forests and grasslands. This proposal would harmonize the framework between the federal government’s two largest land managers by aligning with regulatory structures already established for the U.S. Dept. of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management.

Carbon dioxide emissions can be mitigated by capturing and sequestering these emissions into suitable deep underground geologic formations. A recent analysis by the International Energy Agency projected that globally, 1.2 gigatons of carbon dioxide must be captured and sequestered every year by 2030, to remain on track to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

This proposal would allow the Forest Service to contribute to this broader global effort to mitigate climate change. If this amendment is finalized, applications for carbon sequestration on national forests or grasslands would be considered for permanent use.

The Forest Service does not currently have any carbon sequestration project proposals under consideration. All proposals must still pass secondary screening to be accepted as a formal application. Any carbon storage proposals must also comply with the National Environmental Policy Act and receive approval by an authorized officer at the Forest Service. The proposed amendment does not supersede existing tribal treaty rights, agreements, authorities and land use.

All proposals must also receive permits from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which is the permitting agency for geologic carbon sequestration wells, also known as Underground Injection Control Program Class VI injection wells under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

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