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Wyoming Pipeline Corridor Initiative Approved Days Ahead Of Biden Inauguration

Map of the Wyoming Pipeline Corridor Initiative project with corridors represented
Bureau of Land Management

The U.S. Department of the Interior has approved the Wyoming Pipeline Corridor Initiative, a proposal from the Wyoming Governor's Office. The project has been in the works for nearly ten years with an eye towards boosting carbon capture utilization and storage including enhanced oil recovery.

Gov. Mark Gordon praised the completion of the project's environmental review saying, in a press release, that it's "a critical step for enabling a carbon capture facility to be built in Wyoming."

The project amends several resource management plans across nine Bureau of Land Management field offices in Wyoming to make a pipeline corridor possible to deliver carbon dioxide. It designates nearly 2,000 miles of pipeline corridor across state, private, and BLM-managed lands. Public lands account for over half of the corridor.

The Interior Department's signing of the record of decision doesn't authorize any infrastructure projects or rights-of-way. It does change what's possible on the designated land and would allow for an interested party to submit a proposal to build a pipeline, followed by site-specific environmental analysis from the BLM and public comment.

DOI Secretary David Bernhardt signed the ROD on January 15, 2020 and the BLM uploaded the file to its eplanning site on January 19, 2020.

Matt Fry, WPCI project manager, said back in an interview back in November that an administration change did add logistical pressure to getting approval.

"When you start to get administration changes, you get management changes at agencies, and all that sort of thing," he said. "So it's ideal to get on a signature on a decision before you start having people changing seats and so forth."

Gordon said in his statement that the initiative will speed up the permitting process and further the business case to construct CCUS projects in Wyoming.

Before Wyoming, Cooper McKim has reported for NPR stations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and South Carolina. He's reported breaking news segments and features for several national NPR news programs. Cooper is the host of the limited podcast series Carbon Valley. Cooper studied Environmental Policy and Music. He's an avid jazz piano player, backpacker, and podcast listener.
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