Could New Shift in Carbon Storage Permit Authority Spark Economic Boom in Louisiana?
Beginning next month, regulatory authority in Louisiana over permit approval for carbon storage will shift from the Environmental Protection Agency to state regulators. With the state’s already established oil and gas pipelines and the natural resources available in the region, experts believe that Louisiana will experience a “boom.”
Carbon capture, usage, and storage, or CCUS, is an umbrella term coined to describe the methods and technologies used to limit the amount of carbon dioxide emissions from industrial plants and refineries, along with existing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Proponents of CCUS methods on both sides of the political aisle see carbon capture methods as a promising way to mitigate the effects of carbon emissions on global warming.
Louisiana, often coined the “Carbon Capital of the South,” will soon oversee 22 carbon storage proposals with this new method of approval under the state’s belt. Currently, federal tax incentives incentivize the start-up of carbon storage industrial operations. However, the Environmental Protection Agency has been criticized for being too slow to issue permits to keep up with the pace of ambitious industry operatives.
Louisiana Governor Jeff Landry called the decision to give permitting authority to state regulators a “significant milestone in our state’s economic development.”
Despite the effectiveness of carbon storage methods in reducing carbon emissions, environmentalists have concerns about potential health risks to nearby communities. However, EPA Administrator Michael Reagan stated that while the EPA handed over permitting authority to the state, the EPA will still monitor and oversee the regulators’ conduct.
Louisiana now joins North Dakota and Wyoming as the only three states with permitting authority. In the most recent annual report by Louisiana’s economic development agency, officials suggested that the carbon storage industry will create more than 2,300 jobs in Louisiana alone. No longer stuck in a backlog of approval requests from the EPA, these jobs will soon become a booming, burgeoning reality for Louisiana residents.