[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 179 (Thursday, September 15, 2011)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 56982-56983]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-23662]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

40 CFR Parts 124, 144, 145, 146, and 147

[EPA-HQ-OW-2008-0390; FRL-9465-1]


Announcement of Federal Underground Injection Control (UIC) Class 
VI Program for Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Geologic Sequestration 
(GS) Wells

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Establishment of Class VI Program.

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SUMMARY: EPA is announcing the establishment of a Federal Underground 
Injection Control (UIC) Class VI Program for Carbon Dioxide 
(CO2) Geologic Sequestration (GS) Wells under which EPA will 
directly implement the Class VI Program nationally as of September 7, 
2011. States and potential owners or operators of CO2 GS 
wells must submit all permit applications to the appropriate EPA Region 
in order for a Class VI permit to be issued pursuant to the Federal 
Requirements under the Class VI rule finalized on December 10, 2010. 
Direct Federal implementation of the final Class VI requirements is in 
effect until such time as a State-submitted primary enforcement 
responsibility (primacy) application is approved by EPA.

DATES: The national Class VI Program is effective as of September 7, 
2011.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lisa McWhirter, Underground Injection 
Control Program, Drinking Water Protection Division, Office of Ground 
Water and Drinking Water (MC-4606M), Environmental Protection Agency, 
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: 
(202) 564-2317; fax number: (202) 564-3756; e-mail address: 
mcwhirter.lisa@epa.gov. For general information and to access 
information on the final Class VI rule, visit the Underground Injection 
Control Geologic Sequestration Web site at http://water.epa.gov/type/groundwater/uic/wells_sequestration.cfm.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. General Information

A. Does this action apply to me?

    This action applies to all State and Tribal governments and owners 
or operators of injection wells that will be used to inject 
CO2 into the subsurface for the purposes of GS. Entities 
include, but are not limited to, the following:

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                                       Examples of entities that this
             Category                         action applies to
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States and Tribal Governments.....  States and Tribal governments.
Private...........................  Owners or Operators of CO2 injection
                                     wells used for Class VI GS.
Private...........................  Owners or Operators of existing CO2
                                     injection wells transitioning from
                                     Class I, II, or Class V injection
                                     activities to Class VI GS.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This table is not intended to be an exhaustive list; rather it 
provides a guide for readers regarding entities that this action 
applies to. This action could also apply to other types of entities not 
listed in the table. To determine

[[Page 56983]]

whether this action applies to your facility or authority, you should 
carefully examine the applicability criteria found at 40 CFR part 146 
in the Code of Federal Regulations. If you have questions regarding the 
applicability of this action to a particular entity, consult the person 
listed in the preceding FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section.

B. How can I get copies of this document and other related information?

    1. Docket. EPA has established a docket for this action under 
Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2008-0390. Publicly available docket materials 
are available either electronically through http://www.regulations.gov 
or in hard copy at the Water Docket in the EPA Docket Center, (EPA/DC) 
EPA West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC. The 
EPA Docket Center Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 
p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone 
number for the Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephone 
number for the Water Docket is (202) 566-2426.
    2. Electronic Access. You may access this Federal Register document 
electronically through the EPA Internet under the ``Federal Register'' 
listings at http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/.

II. Background Information

    On December 10, 2010, EPA finalized minimum Federal requirements 
under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) for underground injection of 
CO2 for the purpose of GS (75 FR 77230) (Class VI Final 
Rule). Under the authority of the SDWA, EPA established a new class of 
well, Class VI, for underground injection of CO2 for the 
purpose of GS. The Agency set minimum technical criteria for the 
permitting, geologic site characterization, area of review (AoR) and 
corrective action, financial responsibility, well construction, 
operation, mechanical integrity testing (MIT), monitoring, well 
plugging, post-injection site care (PISC), and site closure of Class VI 
wells for the purposes of protecting underground sources of drinking 
water (USDWs).
    Under 40 CFR 145.21(h) in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), 
EPA provided States 270 days, from December 10, 2010, to submit a 
complete primary enforcement responsibility (primacy) application for 
implementation of the Class VI Program that met the requirements of 40 
CFR 145.22 or 145.32 (75 FR 77242). While the Agency has worked with 
States interested in applying for Class VI Program primacy, as of 
September 6, 2011, EPA has not received or approved any complete 
primacy applications.

III. Class VI Program Implementation

    In the preamble to the Class VI Final Rule (75 FR 77242), EPA 
clarified that, in light of national priorities for promoting climate 
change mitigation strategies and Administration priorities for 
developing and deploying CCS projects in the next few years as 
highlighted in the ``Report of the Interagency Task Force on Carbon 
Capture and Storage'' (August 2010), it is important to have 
enforceable Class VI regulations in place nationwide as soon as 
possible. As a result, in the Class VI Final Rule, EPA provided that 
the Federal rule would become effective in every State that had not 
submitted a primacy application within the 270-day transition period 
provided by SDWA. The Agency committed to publishing, in the Federal 
Register, a list of States where the Federal Class VI requirements have 
become applicable beginning September 7, 2011 (75 FR 77242). Because 
the Agency did not receive any complete primacy applications for Class 
VI Program implementation by September 6, 2011, no States have received 
Class VI primacy and the Federal requirements have become effective 
nationwide. In situations where States have not been granted authority 
to administer UIC Program regulations, EPA is responsible for 
implementing the Program in accordance with the provisions at 40 CFR 
145.21(h) and 147.1(d). EPA describes this process in the preamble to 
the Class VI Final Rule at 75 FR 77242. In summary, on September 7, 
2011, the Class VI permit requirements became effective throughout the 
United States, and EPA now implements and enforces the Federal Class VI 
requirements nationally, in all States, Tribes, and Territories even in 
States, Tribes, or Territories that have primacy to administer the UIC 
Program for other UIC well classes.
    As a result, beginning September 7:
     The ``transitional period'' during which States were able 
to use existing UIC authorities (e.g., Class I or Class V) to permit GS 
projects has ended (75 FR 77243). All current and future GS projects 
must now be evaluated by the appropriate EPA Regional office (the Class 
VI permitting authority).
     A State may no longer issue Class I permits for 
CO2 injection for GS for purposes of complying with SDWA.
     Until a State receives primacy for the Class VI Program, a 
State may not issue Class VI UIC permits (75 FR 77243) under SDWA. All 
permit applications for GS projects must be directed to the appropriate 
EPA Region in order for a Class VI permit to be issued (75 FR 77243). 
EPA encourages owners or operators to contact EPA Regions regarding 
existing and future GS projects. EPA Regions will work with States that 
are considering applying for Class VI primacy, where possible, to 
ensure that Class VI permits are designed in a way that will be 
compatible with the final State Program requirements. EPA expects the 
majority, if not all, of the wells injecting CO2 for GS to 
obtain Class VI permits.The Agency anticipates that few, if any Class V 
experimental technology well permits will be issued under SDWA for 
future GS projects. (75 FR 77245-46) EPA will determine, based on 
evaluation of project-specific information, whether a project needs to 
be permitted as a Class V experimental technology well because the 
Class VI requirements would be technologically inappropriate or would 
not adequately address the environmental risks of the project. In such 
cases, EPA will coordinate with the appropriate Class V permitting 
authority which may, in some cases, be the State.
     As provided in 40 CFR 146.81(c), owners or operators of 
either Class I wells previously permitted for the purpose of GS or 
Class V experimental technology wells no longer being used for 
experimental purposes that will continue injection of CO2 
for the purpose of GS must apply to the appropriate EPA Region for a 
Class VI permit by December 10, 2011.
     A State may, at any time in the future, apply for Class VI 
Program primacy following establishment of a Federal Class VI UIC 
Program. If a State receives Class VI Program primacy approval in the 
future, EPA will publish a subsequent Federal Register notice that 
codifies the State Class VI Program in 40 CFR part 147; at that point, 
the State, rather than EPA, will implement the Class VI Program. For 
additional information about applying for Class VI Program primacy 
under SDWA Section 1422, see requirements at 40 CFR part 145 and the 
final rule and preamble (75 FR 77230-77303; December 10, 2010).

    Dated: September 9, 2011.
Cynthia C. Dougherty,
Director, Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water.
[FR Doc. 2011-23662 Filed 9-14-11; 8:45 am]
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