State Business Groups Urge EPA to Speed Up Permitting for Carbon Capture Projects

Letter adds to growing, bipartisan efforts to streamline permitting backlog at EPA for carbon storage projects and address delays in processing state primacy applications

WASHINGTON, D.C. — This week, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry joined seven business groups representing a diverse cross-section of industry in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Illinois, Texas, and New Mexico in sending a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan calling for the expeditious approval of state primacy applications for Class VI injection wells. In addition to the PA Chamber, the groups include the Pennsylvania Chemical Industry Council; Chemical Industry Council of Illinois; Illinois Manufacturers’ Association; New Mexico Chamber of Commerce; Texas Economic Development Council; Greater Houston Partnership; and the West Virginia Manufacturers Association.

While carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), a technology that would help reduce emissions from hard-to-abate industries and spur economic growth, has been given full support from the Biden Administration, the permitting process for CO2 injection wells, also known as Class VI wells, has been stagnant since the Inflation Reduction Act was approved. Similarly, states requesting primacy over Class VI wells permitting have faced significant delays in their applications before the EPA, despite its ability to speed up the deployment of CCS.

“As organizations representing tens of thousands of businesses in our states, we’re continuously hearing that our members want to innovate and invest in carbon capture and sequestration – but that can’t happen unless the permitting backlog at the EPA is addressed,” said Luke Bernstein, President and CEO of the PA Chamber. “We appreciate the Biden Administration’s public declarations and funding commitments to support the growing CCS industry. Now, it’s time to put those words into action, approve primacy applications for Class VI injection wells, and deliver the economic and emission reduction opportunities that will come with it.”

“PCIC members play a critical role in every aspect of modern life while bringing innovative sustainable solutions that benefit our environment,” added Steven Kratz, President of the Pennsylvania Chemical Industry Council. “Advancing investments in hydrogen and carbon capture technology is an opportunity for industry and regulators to find common ground to achieve a mutually desired energy future.”

Key excerpts from the letter include:

  • “Our members are collectively pursuing billions of dollars in new investments in carbon capture and sequestration, which will provide secure, good-paying jobs and generate new revenue streams for communities across the country.”
  • “We join the growing, bipartisan chorus of stakeholders and policymakers who are calling attention to this lack of movement that is obstructing needed investments in CCS.”
  • “Certainty and predictability are key factors businesses and producers need to make definitive investments in CCS technology, and that starts with a reasonable timeline for primacy and permitting decisions.”
  • “Without immediate improvement, the current Class VI permitting timeline will continue to serve as a barrier to meeting emission reduction goals – including the ones the Biden Administration has set – while discouraging much-needed infrastructure investments across the country.”

You can read the full letter here.

Today’s letter adds to the growing bipartisan calls for the EPA to address this concern. Earlier this month business groups and trade organizations in Louisiana also sent a letter to EPA asking for answers on their state’s primacy application, which was submitted more than 500 days ago, while Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards sent a similar letter expressing frustration on the delay’s effect in stunting investment in the state.

We can do better to recycle more: Our members are proving it 

Environmental stewardship and sustainability aren’t routinely spoken in the same breath as the plastics and chemicals industries in general circles. But as members of the Pennsylvania Chemical Industry Council (PCIC) are proving, they should be.  Our industry is leading the charge with innovations in circular manufacturing, production, and advanced recycling to create a more sustainable, energy-efficient future.

The concept of recycling is a noble cause. The challenge is that around 10% of the plastics we throw in our recycling bins at home actually end up being recycled. The rest ends up in landfills, burned in incinerators, or worse. And in some instances, Pennsylvanians don’t have a viable option to recycle at all. However, the issue isn’t with plastics, it's how we manage plastic waste. We need to take a hard look at modernizing Pennsylvania’s recycling laws. 

The hard truth for many is that calls to ban all plastics are misguided and, frankly, not grounded in reality. Chemicals and plastics are indispensable to modern life. Chemistry is essential for nearly every medical and healthcare product we use, ranging from life-saving equipment and infection-protection materials to PPE, disinfectants and sanitizers, and pharmaceutical ingredients. Harnessing renewable energy sources, building more fuel-efficient cars, and designing energy-smart buildings, all rely on chemicals and plastics. It’s also necessary for food packaging and preservation, electronics, clothing, and much more.

We all depend upon plastics in our daily lives, but the challenge of plastic waste is growing. Long-proven advanced recycling technologies, which only recently became economically viable, transform plastics into base materials that can be used to create new products, fuels, and materials. This includes new advances to tackle hard-to-recycle plastics.  

In 2020, Pennsylvania passed advanced recycling legislation, which positioned the commonwealth as a leader among states in this burgeoning nationwide industry. This legislation is a great start and we are already seeing it yield positive results. In fact, many of our members are ahead of the curve in establishing aggressive goals to use recycled chemicals as inputs for making new products and we are starting to see announced investments in advanced recycling manufacturing facilities statewide.

While the bipartisan advanced recycling legislation was a foundational step, there is still more work to do. For instance, a lot has changed since 1988, when Pennsylvania’s recycling law, Act 101, was passed. It’s time for Pennsylvania’s leaders to take a hard look at modernizing how the Commonwealth and its municipalities are tackling recycling. This will be a challenge, but the alternative of continuing the status quo is no longer a viable option.

Our PCIC members prove each and every day that balancing environmental stewardship and economic growth through investment, technology, and innovation is not only possible, it’s happening. 

We look forward to working with Pennsylvania leaders to advance positive changes to increase recycling opportunities and tackle our plastic waste challenges.

Steven Kratz, President
Pennsylvania Chemical Industry Council


Steve Kratz is a Bravo Group Senior Director and president of the Pennsylvania Chemical Industry Council. With more than 15 years of political, government and advocacy campaign experience, Steve brings solutions to clients across industries, including Fortune 500 companies and trade associations, with a special focus on businesses in highly regulated industries. 

  • Advanced recycling, chemical manufacturing and the move to a circular economy will be hot button issues not just for the chemical, plastics and waste communities, and regulators, but for any company looking to reduce its carbon footprint and provide more sustainable product options for customers. We all depend upon plastics in our daily lives, but the challenge of plastic waste is growing. Long-proven advanced recycling technologies, which only recently became economically viable, transform plastics into base materials that can be used to create new products, fuels and materials. This includes new advances to tackle hard-to-recycle plastics. That’s the purest example of a circular economy, where all materials are reused and no waste is created. In 2019, Pennsylvania passed advanced recycling legislation, which positioned the commonwealth as a leader amongst states in this burgeoning nationwide industry. Set up Google alerts on this topic for sure.


  • Industry will continue to lead the way in investing in sustainable innovations to achieve net-zero emission goals. Advanced recycling is just a fraction of the action. Companies have set their own aggressive carbon goals that dovetail with their business plans and values, and they are diversifying their energy choices, reducing material and virgin resource use, and developing novel ways to produce sustainably. The key is to allow market and customer demand to be the leading factors for industry decisions on how and when to make these investments. Policymakers need to refrain from forcing ever-more stringent and unrealistic mandates, which only quashes innovation. It will be a continuing saga of innovators vs. regulators, and finding common ground to achieve mutually desired outcomes.


  • Pennsylvania’s divided government could provide a unique opportunity for developing truly bipartisan solutions. With a likely evenly divided or narrowly controlled House, a new administration and a Republican-controlled Senate, the ingredients are available to dish up a true bipartisan stew of legislation to move the Keystone State above the mire of today’s political climate. It’s a rare opportunity to effectively address the state’s infrastructure needs, emerging energy options and policies that let public and private sectors work together for progress. Do we have what it takes to sustain the new promise these changes bring, or will we quickly revert to partisan politics as usual? 


  • The pandemic brought increased attention to an issue that has been brewing for several decades: how to effectively move raw materials to manufacturers, and end products to consumers. Our modern world depends on efficient supply chains. Getting a gift delivered on Dec. 26 is annoying; not being able to get PPE, vaccines, respirators and pharmaceuticals can be a matter of life or death. From medical equipment, new vehicles, building materials, energy, pharmaceuticals and more, there is a renewed emphasis by industry and government leaders on shoring up supply chains and growing advanced manufacturing capacity in proximity to customers. Government leaders who effectively balance economic and tax incentives with regulatory policies that encourage economic investment and growth will be well positioned to capitalize on growing advanced manufacturing in their states. 


  • PFASPFOS and PFOA are “forever chemicals” that have become a primary focus for federal and state regulators across the country. While most manufacturers have phased out or are phasing out the use of these compounds in products such as nonstick cookware, waterproof cosmetics and firefighting foam, the characteristics of what made these chemicals effective have now become a challenge to manage and mitigate. As state and federal regulators tackle changes, industry environmental leads are frantically trying to keep up on compliance requirements, which vary in each state. The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to issue new rules in 2023. Will they strike the proper balance to protect public and environmental health and safety, while establishing realistic expectations for industry compliance? One thing is certain: Regulating forever chemicals and environmental justice are going to dominate the regulatory space this year.

join box light

Contact PCIC

* Required Fields
Please enter your name!
Please enter your email!
Let's start a conversation!