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U.S. EPA Proposes Conditional Exclusion of Carbon Dioxide from Hazardous Waste Regulations

The U.S. EPA has proposed to exclude carbon dioxide streams captured at coal-fired power plants and other large industrial operations from regulation as hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The proposal is based on recommendations made by President Obama’s Interagency Task Force on Carbon Capture and Storage. According to a pre-publication version of the proposed rule, the EPA has concluded that the management of carbon dioxide streams does not present a substantial risk to human health or the environment so long as certain conditions are met, including injection of carbon dioxide into wells regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act for geologic sequestration. The EPA believes that the proposed exclusion will reduce the uncertainty associated with defining and managing carbon dioxide streams under RCRA and will encourage the use of geologic sequestration technologies as a component of climate change mitigation. Under the proposed rule, the EPA would exclude from RCRA’s definition of hazardous waste carbon dioxide streams based on several conditions being satisfied.

To learn more about these conditions, access additional information related to the proposed rule, or if you have questions about these issues please contact the Environmental and Natural Resources Practice Group at Bingham Greenebaum Doll.

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