Geymann’s three carbon capture bills move through committee

Published 1:10 pm Friday, May 3, 2024

Three carbon capture bills by Republican Rep. Brett Geymann of Moss Bluff have been approved by the Senate Natural Resources Committee and are awaiting final action by the full Senate. The committee will hear two additional Geymann bills on Wednesday.

The Advocate reported the three carbon measures would protect impacted homeowners, require emergency response plans for carbon sequestration facilities and give more money to parishes that house carbon wells. The newspaper calls carbon capture “the burgeoning and controversial carbon capture industry.”

The industry would inject the captured carbon dioxide emissions underground for storage. Petrochemical companies support the industry, but environmentalists criticize it as untested and unsafe.

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Geymann’s House Bill 966 would overhaul the process by which companies access land for projects. It passed the House 92-6. If it becomes law, landowners of at least 75% of the acreage that would house a proposed carbon capture facility would have to consent, in writing, to the project, Geymann said.

HB 937 by Geymann would protect landowners from liability if a well operator using their property gets sued for damages. It passed the House 98-0.

HB 492 would prohibit eminent domain from being used for carbon injection and storage. Companies could still use eminent domain, a process that allows them to build on private property with government permission, to install pipelines that transfer carbon dioxide. It passed the House 94-4.

Environmentalists are concerned about the potential for such pipelines to leak. The Advocate reported they want the state to “pump the breaks” on carbon capture projects.

A spokesperson for the state Department of Natural Resources said it has received 24 applications for carbon wells, also called Class VI wells, but none has yet been approved. He said the department has adopted regulations more stringent than those of the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

HB 806 by Geymann being heard in committee Wednesday removes six officials from the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Board. They are secretaries of the transportation and economic development departments, the commissioners of administration, agriculture and forestry, and insurance and the director of the homeland security office. The authority currently has 22 members. The bill passed the House 97-2.

HB 810 being heard in committee Wednesday provides for the organization, offices, functions, and responsibilities of the Department of Energy and Natural Resources and its officers; creates the offices of enforcement, energy, and land and water; creates the Louisiana Natural Resources Trust Authority; transfers the Louisiana oil spill coordinator to the department; and provides for the management of state lands and water bottoms. The bill passed the House 99-0.