Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, August 4, 2023


Victoria Bogdan Tejeda, Center for Biological Diversity, (510) 844-7103, ext. 303,
Laura Haight, Partnership for Policy Integrity, (518) 949-1797,
Karen Feridun, Better Path Coalition, (610) 678-7726,
Daisee Francour, Indigenous Environmental Network, (415) 312-5958,
Hudson Kingston, CURE, (320) 269-2984,

Thousands Oppose Industrial Carbon Waste Dumping in National Forests

Proposed Forest Service Rule Would Allow Pipelines, Roads

WASHINGTON More than 9,000 people today urged the U.S. Forest Service to halt plans to allow carbon waste from industrial sources like fossil fuel power plants to be dumped in national forests.

In June the Forest Service announced it would issue a rule as early as this month giving “perpetual right of use” for carbon waste injection in national forests. Today’s petition, signed by people and groups across the country, says a leak at a carbon waste site could suffocate or even kill people and wildlife.

“This proposal is nothing short of ludicrous,” said Laura Haight, U.S. policy director for the Partnership for Policy Integrity. “Our national forests are already home to the most viable carbon capture and storage technology on Earth — they’re called trees.”

Carbon dioxide waste injection would require building massive amounts of infrastructure, including pipelines, injection wells and well pads. Road building, construction and logging would cause additional harm to forest ecosystems and recreation.

“Turning our national forests into industrial dumping grounds is outrageous and completely wrongheaded,” said Victoria Bogdan Tejeda, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute. “There’s no place in our national forests for carbon capture scams that only benefit polluting industries. The administration should scrap this rule and enact one that protects mature and old-growth forests and trees.”

National forests provide habitat for a diverse range of plants and wildlife and offer low-cost, healthy recreation for millions of people. They’re also essential for watershed health and play a key role in fighting climate change by absorbing and storing tons of carbon.

“Carbon capture and storage is a snake oil climate solution with no upsides for anyone but the industry that created the climate crisis,” said Karen Feridun, co-founder of Better Path Coalition in Pennsylvania, home of the Allegheny National Forest. “The Forest Service must refuse to become its accomplice by scrapping the proposed rule.”

Creating carbon waste involves compressing large amounts of highly pressurized carbon dioxide, turning it into a deadly asphyxiant. First responders may not be able to get to victims of a pipeline rupture, well blowout or leak because vehicles can’t safely operate in a dense carbon dioxide plume. In addition, emergency response could be difficult since many national forests are in remote areas.

“The Indigenous Environmental Network opposes carbon capture and storage because it undermines the urgent need to reduce emissions at source and stop fossil fuel extraction,” said Tom BK Goldtooth, executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network. “National forests are stolen Indigenous lands and home to sacred sites and are of cultural and historical significance to Indigenous peoples that must not be disturbed. We must keep fossil fuels in the ground, not expand the polluting industry by fast-tracking carbon capture and storage.”

“This proposal would perpetually endanger rural and Indigenous communities’ health and rights,” said Hudson Kingston, legal director at CURE, a Midwest organization pursuing rural environmental justice. “People who live near national forests, including those with treaty rights to hunt and gather, rely on their waters and wildlife to survive. We expect more from the Forest Service in meeting its obligations under statute and treaty.”

The petition was delivered to the U.S. Forest Service in anticipation of the agency releasing its proposed carbon-dumping rule. If the proposed rule is released, it will trigger a public comment period.

Wayne National Forest, Marietta Unit. Please credit Taylor McKinnon / Center for Biological Diversity. Image is available for media use.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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