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Environmental groups are asking the federal appellate courts to vacate the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent decision to grant Louisiana primacy over Class VI injection wells.

On February 22nd, three environmental groups, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, Healthy Gulf, and Alliance for Affordable Energy, filed a petition with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans requesting that the Court “hold unlawful, vacate, and set aside” the final rule which approved Louisiana’s 2021 application for primacy.

The environmental groups, represented by Earth Justice, believe that the state’s program ran by the Louisiana Department of Energy and Natural Resources (LDENR) is less stringent than the EPA’s program and hope to have permitting authority returned to the federal government. One concern the groups have is that the carbon dioxide may leak into the environment, including underground sources of drinking water.

The final rule, which was announced December 28th, 2023, revised Louisiana’s Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) section 1422 underground injection control (UIC) program to include Class VI injection well primary enforcement responsibility. The decision came after four public hearings between 2021 and 2023, and review of over 45,000 public comments.

Louisiana is one of only three states with primacy, the EPA is responsible for permitting in the remaining states. With this change, Louisiana can issue permits for wells that store carbon dioxide, a critical component of carbon capture and sequestration technology.

For further questions regarding this topic, contact Liskow attorneys Jeff Lieberman and Randee Iles or visit our CCS practice page.

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