Utah Department Of Natural Resources

Climate Investigations Center filed this request with the Department Of Natural Resources of Utah.


From: Climate Investigations Center

To whom it may concern,

This request focuses on the planning and safety of a nationwide high pressure carbon dioxide pipeline network spanning nearly every state.

We ask this question in light of the recently published HuffPost article “The Gassing Of Satartia” by Dan Zegart, which details an accident in Mississippi where a large CO2 pipeline ruptured in February 2020, flooding a small town with a dense cloud of CO2 and injuring dozens of people, some of whom were found unconscious, trapped in their cars while trying to escape. Most residents were unaware of the danger prior to the incident or how to respond.

The development of carbon capture and storage has been prioritized at the Federal level since the late 2000s. Funding for CO2 pipelines by 2021 is part of multiple bills before Congress.

Maps found within reports published by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) Carbon Capture Program, Princeton University and non-profit organizations like the Great Plains Institute, show a vast nationwide network of planned CO2 pipelines. Theoretically, the pipeline network would transport captured CO2 from existing pollution sources like power plants, oil and gas production and cement manufacturing, to sites in other states that have been identified for deep injection into geologic formations.

According to maps attached below the request, Utah is identified as having existing CO2 pollution sources and/or planned CO2 pipelines and disposal sites. These modeling exercises and maps have been developed for use in national CCS programs, budgeting and planning.

Maps attached are copied from these specific documents:
Carbon Capture Coalition (Great Plains Institute), “Federal Policy Blueprint” February 2021, pg.16
Princeton University, “Net Zero America”, December 2020, page 243

Our FOIA/Public Records request in more detail:

I request copies of all communications, reports, notes, and discussions pertaining to the safety of carbon dioxide (CO2) pipelines that have been built or will be built within Utah as part of a national carbon capture and storage (CCS) plan being developed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) and it’s Carbon Capture Program.

Specifically, I request all communications regarding CO2 pipelines, CO2 transport, and CO2 disposal within the state of Utah between the Utah Department Of Natural Resources and other state or local agencies, as well as, but not limited to, any of the following Federal agencies or task forces:

Interagency Task Force on Carbon Capture and Storage
Department of Energy
Office of Fossil Energy
Carbon Storage Program
Department of Interior
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM),
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS,
Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC)
Department of Transportation (DOT)
Environmental Protection Agency
Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC)

I also request copies of any notes, communications, discussions including but not limited to the following topic areas:

CO2 Pipeline Routing and Risks
Any specific CO2 pipeline routes discussed within Utah
Consideration of potential risks to communities or environmental justice concerns during route planning process
Pipeline construction specifications - diameter, pressure, capacity of pipelines to be built
Risk of leaks from CO2 pipelines
Experiments or modeling of CO2 pipeline accidents
Potential risk contamination of CO2 waste stream, including hydrogen sulfide and water.
Safety protocols
Setbacks from populated areas - distance
Warning systems for nearby communities
Specialized CO2 training for first responders
Availability of self-contained breathing apparatus for first responders
Information and/or training for health care staff in treatment of hypercapnia (CO2 poisoning)

The time frame for this request is 2003 to the present.

Climate Investigations Center (CIC) requests these records so that communities may have adequate information in order to protect themselves from the hazards posed by CO2 pipelines. The state’s Public Records/Open Records/FOIA law is designed to ensure transparency and for that reason, agencies are to liberally interpret the law in favor of disclosure and to process records in a timely manner.

Disclosure of these records, especially for proposed pipelines, cannot reasonably present a danger to public safety and instead would provide a powerful tool for community input prior to construction. Additionally, to the extent your search results contain information that is legally exempt from disclosure, non-exempt material must be separated from those records to the extent feasible and provided in response to this request.

Because CIC requests this information for the public benefit and has no commercial interest in the material, I also request a waiver of fees. Should you decide to charge fees for providing copies of records in response to my request, please notify me. If practicable, provide copies of records in their native format. I request that you provide records in electronic form using the email address listed below. Please reach out to me with any questions or issues regarding this request.

Thank you for your assistance.

Daniel Zegart
Senior Investigator
Climate Investigations Center


Kert Davies
Climate Investigations Center

From: Department Of Natural Resources

The Utah Department of Natural Resources Division of Oil, Gas and Mining responded to this GRAMA on 11/12/21 (see below). However, the same GRAMA request keeps coming in on our copy machine. We have responded by email multiple times: 11/12, 12/1, 12/16 and then using your contact form 1/11 but the GRAMA requests still keep coming. We have fulfilled the GRAMA request. If you have questions, please email me at kimwells@utah.gov or visit the records website at https://openrecords.utah.gov/

From: Natasha Ballif <natashaballif@utah.gov>
Date: Fri, Nov 12, 2021 at 1:17 PM
Subject: GRAMA Request Response
To: <info@climateinvestigations.org>
Cc: John Baza <johnbaza@utah.gov>, Haley Sousa <hsousa@agutah.gov>


Your records request is denied. The Division does not regulate pipelines in the state of Utah and therefore would not have communications, reports, notes, or discussions surrounding CO2 pipelines. The Public Service Commission is responsible for regulating pipelines in Utah.

Your request for communication regarding CO2 Disposal Wells is denied pursuant to Utah Code § 63G-2-205. It is denied due to the Division not being required to create a report that is not already being maintained and the cost of staff time required to compile the records. Your request may be fulfilled through the Department of Technology Services and paying their hourly rate of $47. It is estimated to take 100 hours to scan through 80 employee emails from 2003 to 2021.

The Division has public records available on the Division's Data Explorer, found at https://dataexplorer.ogm.utah.gov/.

Notice of Right to Appeal: You have a right to appeal this denial. The appeal must be in writing stating the reasons the record(s) should be released. The appeal should be filed with the Division's Chief Administrative Officer, John Baza, at 1594 W. North Temple, Suite 1210, Salt Lake City, Utah 84114, or johnbaza@utah.gov. An appeal must be filed within 30 days.


Natasha Ballif
Legislative and Policy Coordinator
Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining
P.O. Box 145801
Salt Lake City, UT 84114
office: 801-538-5328
cell: 801-589-5486