The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to approve Louisiana’s request for control over the permitting of carbon sequestration wells in the state. EPA’s approval would provide Louisiana authority under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Underground Injection Control (UIC) program to administer a “Class VI” injection well program for the geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide, following similar such approvals for North Dakota and Wyoming. Stakeholders should take note of this proposed action because EPA approval of Louisiana’s program could advance carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) projects stymied by the backlog of permit applications pending before the EPA.
On March 29, 2023, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) published a Proposed Rule to amend the Environmental Tax Regulations, 25 C.F.R. part 52, specifically those provisions governing the chemical excise taxes used to fund the Hazardous Substance Response Trust Fund established pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA)—known as the Superfund Chemical Tax. Because this is the first time the tax will be applied in over 25 years, its effects may not be well understood by affected industry taxpayers, and the IRS’s Proposed Rule offers critical guidance. Companies engaged in the manufacturing, import, or sale of taxable chemicals should evaluate the Proposed Rule and consider submitting comments by the May 30, 2023, deadline.
On February 2, 2023, the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources convened a full committee hearing to examine the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The sole witness during the hearing was David Turk, DOE Deputy Secretary. During his remarks, Deputy Secretary Turk noted that the IIJA provided more than $62 billion in funding to DOE and requires DOE to develop 60 new programs and expand funding for 12 existing programs. Deputy Secretary Turks stated that as of January 30, 2023, DOE had solicited 50 Requests for Information for public input on IIJA program design, released 38 Funding Opportunity Announcements worth more than $37 billion in initial investments for IIJA programs, conditionally awarded $1.1 billion in zero-emission energy generation credits, and made available $4.25 billion in formula funding for energy efficiency improvements to state and local governments and tribal nations. With respect to electric transmission, the DOE Grid Deployment Office announced its first Request for Proposals regarding the Transmission Facilitation Program, a $2.5 billion revolving fund program that will help develop new large-scale transmission lines and upgrade existing transmission.