Dec 29, 2023

From the Desk of Dr. Beverly Wright:
The Path Forward with EPA and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)

Yesterday, the EPA granted Louisiana the authority to create underground carbon capture wells following the state’s application. DSCEJ and the entire environmental justice movement have fought carbon capture and storage every step of the way and this recent news does not end our fight against this unproven and dangerous technology. CCS is one of the biggest threats to communities of color being harmed by the polluting industries that exacerbate our climate crisis and by the regulatory agencies that are supposed to be protecting them.

We have had an ongoing dialogue with the EPA and state officials about CCS and have voiced our opposition at every opportunity, including at a public hearing this past June and during Administrator Regan’s visits to Louisiana over the last 3 years. While this decision is not what we tirelessly advocated for, or is in the best interest of Cancer Alley communities, our next steps all center around accountability for EPA and Louisiana officials.

The EPA’s Memorandum of Agreement with the State of Louisiana includes environmental justice provisions requiring the state act to protect communities from current or future environmental hazards associated with CCS. The inclusion of these environmental justice provisions is encouraging and must be enforced and referenced at every step of the process.

With a history of unjust environmental policies, we proceed cautiously. Communities across Louisiana are depending on these provisions to protect them from decades of environmental policy that put these very communities at risk from illness, pollution, and death. Louisiana’s most vulnerable cannot be left exposed to an untested pollution control technology without accountability.

I look forward to working with each of these communities to make sure state and federal officials hold up their end of the bargain. While our frustration with the overall decision is unwavering, we want to keep the dialogue ongoing and harness our frustration into measures of accountability.

We will be sharing more information in the new year about our next steps and actions.

Thank you for continuing to be part of this important work and not relenting in the ongoing fight against CCS.

Dr. Beverly Wright