Global industrial gas leader Air Products has hired 25 lobbyists to defend its carbon capture projects ahead of the Louisiana Legislature’s regular lawmaking session, according to an article in the Louisiana Illuminator.
The Pennsylvania company is facing a number of legal obstacles for its planned blue hydrogen plant in Ascension Parish.
According to the Louisiana Ethics Administration, Air Products has signed contracts with all leading lobby firms working at the Louisiana Capitol, save for one.
The hired lobbyists vary greatly in political affiliation, gender, and race, which means there is a very high likelihood they will be connected to a larger number of legislators.
Some of the lobbyists hired by Air Products include Matthew Block, former general counsel to Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards and Kyle Ruckert, a chief political consultant to Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry.
The gas and chemical corporation has plans to build a $4.5 billion blue hydrogen facility with carbon capture technology in Ascension, with the captured CO2 emissions to be stored under nearby Lake Maurepas.
The proposed storage site in particular is what has caused much pushback from local residents due to concerns surrounding the risks of underground CO2 storage having devastating consequences for the environment.
In fact, last year the Livingston Parish Council put a year-long moratorium on CO2 injection wells, but the measure was overruled by a federal judge in the beginning of 2023.
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) also has plenty of supporters in Louisiana, such as the advocacy organization Edwards and the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry.
And the governor has also voiced his support of Air Products’ proposal, emphasizing the prospect of creating 170 new well-paid permanent jobs.