RRC Proposes Rule Changes to Help Implement Oversight of Injection and Storage of Carbon Dioxide

Agency Working on Application to Gain Primacy from EPA

May 03, 2022

AUSTIN – The Railroad Commission today took a major step forward in its application process to gain primacy from the EPA for Class VI injection wells. The injection wells are used for underground storage of carbon dioxide from energy production, power generation or industrial sources.

RRC’s commissioners approved the publishing of proposed amendments to the agency’s carbon dioxide rules for public comment. The proposed changes and other information will be sent to EPA as part of a pre-application for primacy and allow EPA a chance to start its review. If ultimately approved by the EPA, primacy would mean that operators would only need to apply with the RRC for Class VI permits rather than both agencies.

The proposed amendments would modify various sections of RRC rules, including those describing the applicability of the rules, application requirements, notice and hearing requirements, permit standards and reporting, recordkeeping and more.

“Clearly, there is concern today about levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and its impact on the environment,” said Leslie Savage, RRC’s Chief Geologist. “Class VI injection wells have the potential to be part of the solution by trapping the CO2 in appropriate geologic formations. We hope our program will be able to streamline the process and allow for the timely issuing of Class VI permits.”

Primacy allows the EPA to delegate its authority to states, provided they meet the federal government’s minimum standards.

To see the proposed changes to RRC’s Chapter 5 rules on carbon dioxide injection and to comment, visit the following webpage: https://rrc.texas.gov/general-counsel/rules/proposed-rules/.

About the Railroad Commission:
Our mission is to serve Texas by our stewardship of natural resources and the environment, our concern for personal and community safety, and our support of enhanced development and economic vitality for the benefit of Texans. The Commission has a long and proud history of service to both Texas and to the nation, including almost 100 years regulating the oil and gas industry. The Commission also has jurisdiction over alternative fuels safety, natural gas utilities, surface mining and intrastate pipelines. Established in 1891, the Railroad Commission of Texas is the oldest regulatory agency in the state. To learn more, please visit https://www.rrc.texas.gov/about-us/.