Last week, the Livingston Parish Council introduced a proposed ordinance that would place a moratorium on “the construction of disposal wells and injection wells in the Parish of Livingston.” Although not limited to Class VI injection wells—which are those wells utilized for the injection and permanent sequestration of carbon dioxide—the proposed ordinance is clearly aimed at prohibiting carbon capture and sequestration operations within the parish. The proposed ordinance states that the purpose of the moratorium is to allow for further evaluation of the construction, monitoring, and financial responsibility requirements of Class VI wells. The construction and monitoring of Class VI injection wells and the financial responsibility requirements for Class VI well operators are currently regulated by the EPA under the Underground Injection Control program of the Safe Drinking Water Act. However, the State of Louisiana is currently seeking primary enforcement authority—or “primacy”—over the Class VI well permitting program, at which point the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, Office of Conservation would assume responsibility for permitting Class VI wells and ensuring such wells meet the construction and monitoring requirements set out in the regulations enacted in Louisiana Statewide Order 29-N-6.
Livingston Parish’s proposed ordinance looks eerily similar to St. Tammany’s attempt to ban hydraulic fracturing eight years ago, which was ultimately struck down by Louisiana courts, finding that the St. Tammany zoning ordinance prohibiting hydraulic fracturing was preempted by state law. Several local municipalities in other states have tried similar tactics to ban fracking but have met the same fate. The Livingston Parish proposed ordinance is likely to face legal challenges if passed. The Livingston Parish proposed ordinance is scheduled for a public hearing at an upcoming parish council meeting on September 8, 2022, at 6:00 p.m.
 The EPA regulations relating to Class VI wells can be found at 40 CFR §146.81 et seq.
 The Louisiana regulations relating to Class VI wells, which will go into effect once the state achieves primacy, can be found at 43 LAC §3601 et seq.
 See St. Tammany Parish Government v. Welsh, 2015-1152 (La. App. 1 Cir. 3/9/16); 199 So.3d 3. Liskow & Lewis successfully defended Helis Oil & Gas Company, LLC and was able to obtain a ruling striking down the St. Tammany zoning ordinance.
To learn more about carbon capture and sequestration and the Louisiana regulatory framework surrounding it, see A Primer on CCUS Regulation in Louisiana
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