A letter to the state said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should complete a review of Louisiana’s request to oversee CO2 storage projects by May 2023.
Louisiana wants to obtain a permit to monitor Class VI wells, which bury carbon and other polluting gases underground, Reuters reported. Currently, EPA decides most CO2 requests and in some cases, the permitting may take years.
According to the Energy Information Administration, the state of Louisiana accounts for approximately 16% of oil output in the country and ranks third in natural gas and reserves. It also ranks first in terms of the number of liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals, which plan to bury CO2 emissions as a way to decrease their climate impact.
In the letter to Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards from March 13, EPA Administrator Michael Regan said that following the EPA’s review of Louisiana’s application, there will be a 60-day public comment period.
This February, Edwards wrote to Regan to request an update on the application process and raised concerns that there is a lack of communication on behalf of the federal agency.
CO2 capture recently got a boost through the Inflation Reduction Act, which gives incentives for CO2 projects to raise their economic attractiveness.
The companies planning CO2 capture and storage projects in Louisiana include Occidental Petroleum, Talos Energy, and Verde CO2.
According to the letter, Louisiana’s application was revised by the state’s Natural Resources Department and the regional Environmental Protection Agency to make sure low-income and minority residents are protected. That resulted in a memorandum of agreement (MOA), the letter also said.
The MOA will allow for the creation of “a robust environmental justice program (…) and will serve as an example for future MOAs between the EPA and other states seeking Class VI primacy,” Regan wrote.