Job boom for Louisiana possible – if we can get the CCS conversation back on track
The energy industry’s deep presence within Louisiana is a point of pride – and for good reason. Our energy hub has powered the economy here in Louisiana, but also provided energy and products for our entire nation. We have a skilled workforce, and an ideal geographic location for transporting and refining product. And we’re the ideal location to lead on the essential continuation of the energy sector via Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).
Continuing this economic legacy will necessitate an embrace of CCS – protecting hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs, while creating new job opportunities that come with deploying CCS on such significant scale.
Recent reporting in The Advocate, which spotlighted remarks made by LSU chemical engineering professor John Flake, noted that “carbon capture industry could create up to 155,000 direct jobs in Louisiana and 1.76 million temporary jobs.”
Those are staggering figures. And they must be part of the ongoing conversation on CCS here in the state.
Of course, when considering the economic impacts of advancing CCS projects in Louisiana, we must recognize the local business owners who stand to benefit as well – from tugboat operators down the coast to longshoremen and other skilled laborers. And not to mention the small businesses along the various project routes that will benefit from a surge in construction workers and ultimately full-time staff.
This is a promising bipartisan issue in the state of Louisiana. Governor Edwards has even gone as far as urging the Biden Administration last month to grant the state Class VI Well Primacy – the necessary permission required to move forward with carbon injections into geological formation in the state. The Louisiana Department of Natural Resources has also been a champion on the issue, particularly Jason Lanclos, who presented before the US Congress late last year about the value of CCS for the state – and nation at large.
Within the state legislature, there is strong Republican support for this issue as well. As we reported back in November of last year, Senate Natural Resources Committee Chairman Bob Hensgens voiced his support for CCS as a way for the energy industry to continue its important job-creating functions. And the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed back in 2021, which received considerable support and inputs from our Senator Bill Cassidy, included investments for states’ ability to permit, site and monitor carbon sequestration wells.
So, where are we today? There are a slew of legislative proposals that may be considered this session, which aim to restrict CCS development in the state. And, the federal EPA has yet to officially grant our state primacy – the next step on this front will be a comment period within the Federal Register.
Let’s recognize the tremendous benefit that CCS can bring to the state, and avoid advancing short-sighted legislative proposals that could stop job-creating projects in their tracks. And of course, let’s continue to urge the EPA to move forward with granting our state primacy. Once they move forward, we should all be ready to push comments into the register and play a role in creating jobs and sustaining this critical industry.