This week, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that they have approved WDEQ's aquifer exemption request associated with Linc Energy's coal gasification pilot project in Campbell County.
"The request meets the regulatory requirements," said EPA in a recent statement.
"I'm pleased that EPA's scientists arrived at the same conclusions that we did," said Kevin Frederick, Water Quality Administrator. "Namely, that the portion of the Wyodak aquifer associated with the project met the federal requirements for exemption because it doesn't serve as a source of drinking water and the coal is expected to be commercially producible."
After an extensive analysis, the DEQ Land Quality Division approved a Research and Development License for Linc's coal gasification project in 2013. Part of the R & D License requires an aquifer exemption by EPA.
Underground coal gasification is the process of converting coal into syngas.
According to EPA, "the inward hydraulic flow maintained during gasification and restoration, Linc's planned engineering controls required by it's permit, and the monitoring plan... demonstrate that the surrounding USDWs (Underground Sources of Drinking Waters) will be protected."
"It's encouraging to see that the EPA and DEQ, after conducting independent reviews of the scientific information and public comments, have come to the same conclusions," said Todd Parfitt, DEQ Director. "EPA and DEQ both agree that the proposed aquifer exemption will meet the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act."