The North Dakota Industrial Commission has approved the first carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in the US that falls under the authority of the state rather than the US Environmental Protection Agency.

In 2018, North Dakota was the first state to receive primacy of Class VI wells, which gives the state primary regulatory authority over the use of wells used for injecting carbon dioxide into deep geological formations.

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In the first CCS project under state authority, ethanol producer Red Trail Energy will capture carbon dioxide from its ethanol facility near Richardton, North Dakota, aiming to inject 180,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year underground.

“We commend Red Trail Energy for their innovative and rigorous work to submit an application that sets the standard for future carbon capture applications,” the Commission said.

“Red Trail’s work with the Energy & Environmental Research Centre has resulted in a project that assures that carbon dioxide can be safely stored for generations.”

Authority over wells is established in the Safe Drinking Water Act, where applicants or states must meet requirements designed to protect sources of drinking water. The only other state to be granted primary authority was Wyoming in 2020.

Louisiana applied for state authority over Class VI wells earlier this year.

North Dakota is also working on developing the largest carbon capture facility in the world, named Project Tundra. North Dakota-based Minnkota Power Cooperative is working with the Energy & Environmental Research Centre at the University of North Dakota to capture about 4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

The company said this is the equivalent of taking 800,000 gasoline-fuelled vehicles off the road.

Minnkota Power submitted a proposal in May of this year for the project. If approved, this project will also be under the regulatory authority of the North Dakota Industrial Commission. Construction would begin in 2022 and commercial operations would begin in 2025.