Texas’ oil regulator on May 3 took a major step towards gaining oversight of the permitting for carbon capture and storage wells, the agency said, a move that would speed up the approval process for such projects.

The Railroad Commission (RRC) of Texas approved publishing proposed amendments to its CO₂ rules for public comment, which will then be sent to the EPA as part of a pre-application that kicks off the review process.

Carbon capture and storage wells, known as Class VI wells, have been heralded by some as a way to curb global warming by sequestering greenhouse-gas emissions from refineries and other industrial sites. However, the permitting of those projects, which for most states must go through the EPA, often takes years.

North Dakota and Wyoming are the only states with enforcement authority, also known as primacy, over such permits. North Dakota won oversight in 2018 and issued its first permit last year after just an eight-month review.

“We hope our program will be able to streamline the process and allow for the timely issue of Class VI permits,” Leslie Savage, the RRC’s chief geologist, said in a statement.