May 11, 2017 06:52 AM EDT
The power to regulate underground wells might be added to North Dakota's extensive policies against waste chemicals. Underground wells are being used as storage for waste carbon dioxide. These usually come from industrial sources like the coal-fired power plants.
Class VI wells are to be added to North Dakota's regulatory power over injection wells. The measure poses a challenge to the state to develop an efficient capture and sequestration technology against CO2. Carbon Dioxide is a greenhouse gas and scientists agree that it is a huge contributor to the global warming. Apart from CO2 sequestration, North Dakota is also storing waste from oil production.
Administrator Scott Pruitt of the Environmental Protection Agency confirmed that he signed off the proposal. He stressed that he would have signed it for North Dakota had it not declined during the Obama administration. However, everyone has to wait for the finality of the measure which will take effect after the 60-day public comment. It will also commence after the Federal Register notification, according to ABC News.
Pruitt said that the residents of North Dakota themselves know what their communities need. The regulatory power over class IV wells is not a simple matter of capturing and storing CO2 but there are technical matters as well. World Coal explained that one of the potential impacts in the case a policy fails is the contamination of drinking water sources.
Pruitt added that the federal standards will also come in play alongside the North Dakota regulation. This calls for the EPA to step in to oversee the implementation. There should be a balance between the environment, economy, and the welfare of the communities, he added.
Meanwhile, the office of North Dakota Senator John Hoeven stressed that every stakeholder should work closely with each other. The Industrial Commission, EPA, and energy producers should come up with a set of rules. These include rules intended for well testing and liability.
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