Can Louisiana gain authority over carbon capture wells? U.S. Rep. Graves weighs in

U.S. Congressman Garret Graves (Photography by Sam Barnes)

The federal government is likely to give Louisiana primary authority over wells used in carbon capture, possibly by December or January, U.S. Rep. Garret Graves says.

Supporters hope state control can alleviate some of the concerns around carbon capture, which is tied to billions of dollars in potential Capital Region projects but is under fire from critics who say the technology is unproven and could lead to environmental damage.

“I think that the public would be better served and that you’d get better scientific integrity, more capacity, and hopefully help to address this, this information gap that we’ve seen in Louisiana and projects so far,” Graves said last week during a virtual event hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center.

The EPA has told state officials that federal regulators intend to publish the proposed rule on Louisiana primacy in the Federal Register by the end of May, which would fit with the timeline Graves suggests, says Patrick Courreges with the state Department of Natural Resources.

Two states currently have primary authority over Class VI wells. Louisiana officials say working with dedicated state regulators, rather than regional EPA officials responsible for five states, would be more efficient for companies.

In a January letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan, Gov. John Bel Edwards says state regulation would in some ways be more restrictive than federal rules, adding that more information about the progress of Louisiana’s request would help encourage potential operators to make firm investment decisions.

A proposed Air Projects hydrogen manufacturing complex in Ascension Parish that would involve injecting waste carbon underneath Lake Maurepas has been a flashpoint for critics, while the company has launched a major lobbying effort to push back.

You can read more about the carbon capture debate in Business Report.