The U.S. Forest Service proposed a change in regulations that would allow it to consider requests to inject carbon dioxide beneath the 193 million acres of national forests and grasslands.
Currently, the Forest Service is barred from authorizing “exclusive and perpetual use and occupancy” of its land by outsiders, a prohibition that would apply to carbon storage because the gas would remain underground for hundreds of years. The proposed regulation would create an exemption for carbon capture and storage projects. If approved, the USDA agency could “authorize proposed carbon capture and storage on National Forest Service system lands where and if it’s deemed appropriate.”
Public comments on the carbon injection idea will be accepted until January 2. The Forest Service says the proposed rule would harmonize carbon storage regulations with the Bureau of Land Management, the other major federal land manager. The BLM issued its carbon storage policy in July 2022.