LWF position on Carbon Sequestration in Louisiana

Are you following the carbon sequestration debate related to Lake Maurepas? What does carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) mean for Louisiana?

Only one of the many bills filed this legislative session about CCUS has made it out of the House of Representatives and moves to the Senate for debate. Rep. Schexnayder’s HB 571 will be heard soon and the bill does add some needed changes to regulations about the state’s responsibilities for Class VI wells and establishing a trust fund, among other changes to address future CCUS projects in Louisiana.

LWF supports carbon capture to reduce C02 emissions but not sited in Lake Maurepas.

LWF does acknowledge that carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) is an effective process when properly regulated and monitored for potential adverse impacts on the public and its natural resources.

Carbon capture utilization and storage projects and the expansion of blue hydrogen production for the purpose of reducing COշ atmospheric emissions can advance the federal and state goals of reducing carbon emissions in the short term as the world transitions to more renewable energy production.

However, LWF opposes a CCUS project sited in Lake Maurepas due to its unique ecologically important estuarine system. Concerns about the negative impact in Lake Maurepas (it’s not a lake but an estuary):

  • adequate mitigation of damage cannot be guaranteed
  • scenic value and recreational use would be greatly diminished
  • importance to the lifecycle of shrimp, crab and fish for both recreational and commercial fishing that would be disrupted by seismic testing and over-dredging the water bottoms for deepening transport channels
  • continued impacts on the water bottom from project construction, pipelines, and subsequent monitoring that would diminish water quality and the disrupt the benthic zone, which diminishes wildlife habitat and the food chain in estuaries

The adjacent Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Area encompasses one of the largest coastal forests along the Gulf Coast. It’s an important part of the Mississippi Flyway for numerous species of neotropical migrant birds and waterfowl. CPRA will soon implement a large coastal restoration project to benefit the Maurepas Swamp area due to its decline over several decades. Increased activity for CCUS projects in the area could have serious negative impacts that impede recovery of Maurepas Swamp.

LWF echoes the concerns from local residents about the speed in which this new type of project is being advanced and potential danger from catastrophic failure. Louisiana citizens need more information about why CCUS is being proposed and how CCUS projects would be managed in Louisiana’s publicly held waterbodies that are integral to Louisiana’s reputation as Sportsman’s Paradise and are future generations’ legacy.

The next immediate step is to comment on EPA giving Louisiana primary responsibility – or Primacy – to approve permits for Class VI wells . There will be a public meetings that you can register to attend and speak. CLICK HERE to learn more about Primacy. UPDATE:  PUBLIC MEETING DATES.

Only two Class VI wells have been permitted in the U.S.

LWF composed a background paper that you may find helpful.

-Rebecca Triche, Executive Director.

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