Is transparency lacking around Louisiana carbon capture projects?


Two dozen carbon capture projects are proposed in Louisiana, but figuring out where exactly companies plan to inject carbon dioxide for storage is a mystery, the Louisiana Illuminator reports.

That’s because a state law passed in 2021 regulating carbon capture includes a provision allowing companies to claim a wide range of project information―including location― as trade secrets.

As a result, people concerned about these projects are unable to evaluate them until the time-limited public commenting period, which no project in Louisiana has reached yet, the Louisiana Illuminator reports.

Take, for example, a carbon capture and storage project proposed by ExxonMobil. The Department of Energy and Natural Resources spent $900,000 plugging and cleaning up an orphaned wastewater site on ExxonMobil’s property in Vermilion Parish, about 40 miles southwest of Lafayette.

As Louisiana Illuminator reports, David Levy, who served on Louisiana’s Oilfield Site Restoration Commission, suspected Exxon asked the state to clean up the well site in preparation for a carbon capture project in the parish, but he was unsure of the exact location where the project’s Class VI injection well would be drilled.

A public records request revealed the locations Exxon considered for their carbon capture project: on state lands, beneath White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area and Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge.

Ultimately, the project changed locations and was later put on hold. Still, the proposed project, and perceived lack of transparency about potential carbon capture and storage projects, even on state lands, is raising flags about the state’s permitting process. Read the full story.