Judge Overturns Livingston Parish Moratorium on Carbon Capture Projects
Air Products sued the Livingston Parish's government to overturn the moratorium
U.S. District Court Judge Shelly Dick has issued a preliminary injunction overturning a Livingston Parish moratorium against Class V injection wells. The moratorium was intended to stop Air Products from conducting seismic tests or building test wells for carbon capture under Lake Maurepas.
Air Products plans to open a $4.5 billion hydrogen manufacturing complex in Ascension Parish by 2026. Around 5 million tons of carbon dioxide produced at that facility annually would be transported via a pipeline and stored about a mile underneath Lake Maurepas. Before that can happen, the company must conduct seismic testing and build two Class V testing wells in the lake in order to obtain the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency permits it needs to complete the project.
Livingston parish has been fighting against the project since September, when the moratorium was passed. Recently, Residents of several parishes asked the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources to pause its approval for both the seismic testing and the construction of the wells until Air Products releases an environmental impact statement to the Army Corps of Engineers. They expressed concerns over a lack of transparency from Air Products, as well as fears about how carbon capture and sequestration might affect wildlife in and around the lake.
“This project is critical to Louisiana’s clean energy transition and creating and preserving jobs in the state as it makes the transition from traditional energy sources to cleaner ones,” said Air Products communications director Art George. “Air Products is committed to being a safe, transparent, and responsible community partner in all things: our operations, our communications and our business.”
Gov. Edwards has also been a vocal proponent of this and other carbon capture projects.
“This is a major industrial investment that will create quality manufacturing jobs while limiting environmental impacts, a goal envisioned by my Climate Initiatives Task Force,” Gov. Edwards said when announcing the project. “Carbon capture and sequestration are important to Louisiana’s efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions while maintaining jobs and growing our manufacturing base. This project is a clear demonstration of our ability to grow the Louisiana economy while lowering the carbon footprint of industry."
According to the National Energy Technology Laboratory, carbon capture is “expected to be safe,” though it countinues that expection is “assuming that sites are well-selected, designed, and operated appropriately.” However, should anything go wrong, Louisiana is one of seven states that has enacted laws allowing companies like Air Products to transfer the long-term liability for carbon storage projects to the state.
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