The Biden administration just granted Louisiana permissions to lead the process of vetting class VI carbon storage wells.
The move is seen as an effort to speed up the permitting process and swiftly do away with the major backlog that is forming in the state.
Carbon capture proponents have protested the growing backlog of carbon storage well applications with over 170 still awaiting approval from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which can be viewed in the EPA’s Permit Tracker unveiled back in September 2023.
With rising global temperatures and equally increasing count of global emissions, the world is in a race against time to decarbonize, and technology like carbon capture and storage (CCS) are currently among the most viable solutions.
However, while many consider the federal government’s decision to be a win for sustainability and the carbon capture industry, it was also a heavy blow to environmentalists and residents, who are wary of the whole plan.
One of the main concerns carbon capture opponents have has to do with Louisiana’s ‘Swiss cheese’ geology, which has been strongly exploited by oil and gas companies.
Namely, due to the high number of abandoned wells, some environmentalists warn against the risks of ruptures and carbon dioxide leaks that can prove very dangerous for local residents and the surrounding environment.
Furthermore, locals question the ability of Louisiana authorities to adequately oversee the permitting process and deliver a competent assessment of current and future hazards.
To ensure that communities and their safety are prioritized, however, the EPA has promised to take steps towards embedding environmental justice at the core of the state’s oversight of class VI wells.