From Louisiana Against False Solutions

Emergency Plans Are Not in Place for Residents’ Safety

Sulphur, Louisiana — Last night, there was a leak in a high-pressure carbon dioxide (CO2) pipeline owned by Denbury Inc. and ExxonMobil, in Sulphur, Louisiana. Pipeline operator representatives arrived at the scene almost two hours after Calcasieu Parish’s Ward 6 Fire Department. This pipeline is just one of a multitude of proposed CO2 pipelines that threaten Louisiana communities as part of a rapid build-out of the dangerous carbon capture and storage (CCS) industry. Carbon dioxide displaces oxygen and can cause asphyxiation in high concentrations, yet sufficient safety and emergency preparedness plans are not in place in communities that are located near dangerous pipelines.

James Hiatt, a resident of Calcasieu Parish and Executive Director of For a Better Bayou, said, “Last night’s carbon dioxide (CO2) leak from an ExxonMobil-owned pipeline in North Sulphur reiterates grave concerns about carbon capture and storage infrastructure’s safety. Coupled with a previous serious incident in Satartia, Mississippi, which necessitated evacuations and medical treatments due to a similar pipeline failure, these events underscore the perils tied to handling and moving CO2 in large volumes.”

“This wasn’t the first incident at the North Sulphur site, highlighting a troubling pattern of safety lapses,” Hiatt continued. “Given the proposals for extensive new CO2 pipelines across South Louisiana, these repeated incidents serve as a stark warning. It’s crucial that these risks not be ignored or minimized, especially when the stakes for public safety and health are so high.”

When firefighters arrived at the scene, a high-pressure leak of carbon dioxide was discovered at the pumping station. A shelter-in-place was issued by the Calcasieu Police Jury for residents within 1/4 miles of the incident. Despite carbon dioxide’s tendency to travel at ground level, no warning was given to residents to seek higher ground in their homes. The shelter-in-place was lifted at 9:15 p.m. when the readings suggested the area was clear.

“This pipeline represents just a small fraction of the massive number of CO2 pipelines that are proposed to slice through our communities in Louisiana,” said Breon Robinson, organizer with Healthy Gulf. “If we’re already having these dangerous incidents such as last night with existing CCS infrastructure, we must pump the breaks on this industry before we subject even more people to even more danger.”

Roishetta Sibley Ozane, founder and CEO of The Vessel Project of Louisiana, said, “I never imagined that my own home in Sulphur, Louisiana, would become a dangerous place to be due to a CO2 leak, but I’m not surprised. As an environmental justice leader, I have been fighting against the constant threat of new fossil fuel buildout in our community, including the newly proposed false solutions of carbon capture. This CO2 leak was a stark reminder of the environmental injustices we face daily.”

“Sheltering in place became not only a matter of personal safety but also a symbol of our ongoing struggle,” Ozane continued. “We were not only dealing with the immediate danger of the leak but also the long-term impacts of living in an area heavily burdened by industrial pollution. It felt like we were trapped, both physically and metaphorically, as the very air we breathed posed a threat to our health.”

This morning, the Louisiana House Committee on Natural Resources and Environment was hearing a discussion on two bills on carbon capture and storage. The bills, HB 289 and HB 398, respectively, are related to whether carbon dioxide injection wells should be permitted in certain areas. One of the bills specifically included a provision on emergency response — an area that lawmakers are grappling with as dozens of carbon capture projects and pipelines are proposed across Louisiana.

Monique Harden, Director of Law and Public Policy at the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, said, “Industrial releases of carbon dioxide not only warm the planet but are also hazardous to communities. We can expect more CO2 disasters in communities with plans for more and more gas plants, CO2 pipelines, and underground injection of CO2 waste. The only effective protection is a transition away from dirty energy that ensures environmental justice.”

“Southwest Louisiana is once again the victim of two realities,” said KD Minor, Founder of Forever Calcasieu and Community Solutions Coordinator at the Alliance for Affordable Energy. “While the White House announces billions of dollars in industry investments, the people still recovering from record-breaking hurricanes are now faced with sheltering in place for toxic emissions from those same industries. It is long past time that we put our priorities in the people that make this state great, and begin our transition away from the practices that continue to decrease the quality of our lives.”


Media Contacts:

Eloise Reid, LAFS Manager

Stephannie Kettle, Healthy Gulf Communications Manager

Louisiana Against False Solutions (LAFS) is a coalition of more than 20 organizations leading in Louisiana and nationally for environmental, racial, and social justice. LAFS includes expertise across a range of disciplines: law, environmental science, geology, steel and materials scientists, traditional and Indigenous knowledge-holders, experienced campaigners, fisherfolk, and frontline communities. Learn more at

The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice is a member of the LAFS Coalition.