BLM’s Rock Springs Resource Management Plan B has the potential to impact significantly CarbonCapture Inc.’s ability to move forward with Project Bison in Southwest Wyoming

0
60

CarbonCapture Inc’s Project Bison planned for Southwest Wyoming.

Wyo4News staff, [email protected]

December 08, 2023 — CarbonCapture Inc. submitted comments to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on November 15 concerning the Rock Springs Resource Management Plan (RMP). In their comments, they are particularly concerned about ‘Alternative B,’ which has been identified as the preferred choice by the State BLM Director. Since its introduction, there’s been significant pushback on this proposal from multiple stakeholders due to its detrimental impact on the development of the state’s carbon management industry.

According to CarbonCapture Inc., Alternative B emphasizes conservation, placing severe constraints on land usage to preserve public lands for physical, biological, and cultural purposes.” At CarbonCapture Inc., we deeply value land conservation as well, but we advocate for a balanced approach. Unfortunately, in our assessment, Alternative B imposes overly severe restrictions on the allocation of land for renewable energy deployment and the establishment of new transmission lines. Furthermore, its limitations on land usage and surface occupancy markedly limit available options for implementing DAC and carbon sequestration. This may potentially necessitate the need for CarbonCapture Inc., and others, to explore alternative project sites outside of the southwest region of the state, potentially hampering the development of the carbon management industry in Wyoming.” Said Andrea Sydney from CarbonCapture Inc.

CarbonCapture Inc. develops and deploys direct air capture (DAC) machines that can be connected in large arrays to remove massive amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere. Carbon Capture’s systems run on zero-emissions energy, capturing atmospheric CO2 for either permanent atmospheric carbon removal or for producing low-carbon synthetic fuels. At a town hall regarding the carbon removal project held at Western Wyoming Community College on Oct. 26, 2023, CarbonCapture Inc. stated why they wanted their Sweetwater Carbon Storage Hub in Southwestern Wyoming for Project Bison, saying, “Wyoming is already a leader in Carbon Management, and was selected as the project’s location due to the broad availability of renewable and zero-carbon energy sources as well as the favorable regulatory and operating environment for carbon storage.” 

Below are the comments that CarbonCapture Inc’s CEO, Adrian Corless, submitted on the BLM NEPA Register website with respect to Alternative B: 

  • The primary impact of Alternative B to CarbonCapture Inc. would be hampering the potential for future expansion of the carbon management industry in this part of the state.  
  • Alternative B does not directly impact CCI’s original surface footprint (located in the Kemmerer Field Office jurisdiction) or our sequestration partner’s initial subsurface requirements. However, this initial deployment was always seen as the first step to a much larger project, given the great geology for subsurface CO2 in this region. In August of this year, we were awarded a TA-2 grant to explore WY for a megaton-scale DAC Hub as part of DE-FOA-0002735. Alternative B seems at odds not just with the administration’s DAC Hubs Program but also with its support for the broader CCUS industry as a whole and renewable energy development. 
  • Impacts are as follows: 
    • Energy: Alternative B drastically restricts the land available for renewable energy deployment and for any new transmission outside of existing corridors. As a project requiring fully additional, low-carbon resources, it’s very unlikely that the resources we need could be built in this area under Alternative B. 
    • DAC footprint: While our initial footprint will likely fall within the Kemmerer Field Office, nearby expansion opportunities include the border between Sweetwater and Lincoln Counties northwest of Green River. Much of this region is included in the ROW exclusion. Even if we built entirely on private land, it would be nearly impossible to access the potential sites. 
    • Sequestration/storage: Similar to above (DAC footprint), nearby expansion opportunities for mineral leasing are almost completely excluded or don’t allow surface occupancy under Alternative B. 
  • As the aim is to optimize the distance between DAC, energy, and storage, the limitations above suggest that CCI would need to search for alternative project sites under Alternative B. 
  • On behalf of the burgeoning carbon management industry in Sweetwater and, more specifically, the carbon removal industry, we would be happy to provide verbal comments on the challenges presented by Alternative B if that is of interest.