EPA gives Louisiana carbon injection well oversight

Projects surged after IRA

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is granting Louisiana’s request to be the primary permitting authority over Class VI carbon injection wells, which are specifically designed for the underground injection of carbon dioxide for long-term storage.

The recent Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provide billions of dollars in federal subsidies and incentives for carbon capture and storage projects. With the new and expanded federal funding opportunities, announcements for new fossil fuels projects equipped with carbon capture have surged in Louisiana—along with those projects, applications for new carbon injection wells for long-term storage have also increased significantly.

Other states may attempt to follow Louisiana’s path.

Permitting of Class VI wells and operations is generally directly regulated by the EPA, though the EPA can grant primary regulatory authority to individual states that develop a regulatory framework that matches or exceeds the EPA’s Class VI standards. That role in Louisiana will now be handled by the state’s Office of Conservation.

Gov. John Bel Edwards said that Louisiana’s geology and existing base of industry and pipeline infrastructure position the state to be a major player as a hub for Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) projects, enabling industry to shrink its carbon footprint in a global market that is ever more carbon sensitive.

“Finding alternative means of harnessing our traditional fuel sources at the same time we expand our options for alternative fuel sources to the point they are market-ready, available and affordable is probably the great challenge of our generation and some of the most important work we can do for future generations,” Gov. Edwards said. “While CO2 sequestration is not the only strategy available for carbon management, it is the most mature and market-ready tool available in the near term.”

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