Neighbors continue to call for scrutiny of Lake Maurepas carbon capture project


The new state task force on carbon capture and storage projects met Monday and got an earful from opponents of a proposal to store CO2 emissions under Lake Maurepas, reports Louisiana Illuminator.

While members tried to sort out exactly what they will do on the advisory panel, they heard from neighbors and officials who want to stop Air Products’ plan to store CO2 below the lake bottom.

Some 30 carbon sequestration projects have been proposed in Louisiana, where Gov. John Bel Edwards has made the technology a key part of his climate agenda. Proponents say it’s the best way to contain industry emissions that would otherwise contribute to climate change.

Skeptics have questioned industry safety claims about storing CO2 underground and point out that the energy needed to manifest capture and storage could more than offset any carbon removed.

The most vocal opposition at Monday’s hearing came from residents of Livingston Parish, whose swampy southeastern corner reaches into Lake Maurepas. Starting last fall, Air Products spent months conducting a seismic survey of areas in the lake to determine the area best suited for carbon sequestration. The explosive charges needed for the survey were met with scorn from recreational and commercial anglers as well as recreational boaters.

The most eye-raising accusation came from Randy Delatte, the incoming president of Livingston Parish who was elected in October with 71% support. He said fishers checking traps were kept from the areas being surveyed by security personnel armed with assault-style weapons.

“It seems like it’s easy to do business in carbon capture in Livingston Parish,” Delatte told the task force, “and our people don’t know why that is.”

Air Products spokesperson Christina Stephens said Delatte’s assertion that Air Products’ security contractors are “armed today and daily with semi-automatic weapons is false and irresponsible.”

“We work closely with our security contractors to ensure the safety of the public and our employees, and on one occasion nearly a year ago a contractor supplied an armed guard for a public demonstration involving active seismic charges,” Stephens said in an email. “This is not an accurate description of our continued safe work on the project today. That phase of our project is complete.”

Read the full story about how the meeting went from Louisiana Illuminator.