February 2, 2023

Cassidy Presses Department of Energy on Louisiana’s Stalled Class VI Primacy Application

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) today pressed Department of Energy (DOE) Deputy Secretary David Turk on Louisiana’s stalled application for Class VI primacy—state-led enforcement for geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide—at a hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. 

“Louisiana cannot get primacy. We’re told that our application is actually being referred to as a model as to how to get primacy when other states come and say okay, ‘What format should we use?’ And we’re told—all due respect to the Ranking Member from Wyoming, which is [one of the only states] that has gotten primacy—that [Louisiana’s application] written a few years after [Wyoming’s] meets more concerns of the federal government. Theirs was good, ours is better, and we still can’t get it. It’s been held up for years now,” explained Dr. Cassidy.  

Cassidy asked what the Department of Energy can do to shake loose Louisiana’s Class VI primacy application—which was submitted in April 2021—from the federal government.

“If we’re going to achieve these goals with all these great kinds of [projects] and we can’t get primacy. I feel like quoting Pogo, ‘We’ve met the enemy and he is us.’ Except in this case, it is the federal government. What can [the Department of Energy] do?” asked Dr. Cassidy. 

Deputy Secretary Turk responded that DOE is working with EPA as they approve applications for primary enforcement of Underground Injection Control programs like Class VI for carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS).

“We’re trying to do whatever we can with our EPA colleagues. I’ve had several conversations. We have teams of ours working with EPA colleagues trying to inform their decision-making process,” responded Deputy Secretary Turk. 

“Can EPA stop this by themselves? Is there no one over EPA that says ‘Listen, you were supposed to give us a decision year ago last October?’ Now we’re past October, not to mention past a year ago October, and we still don’t know when it’s going to happen,” added Dr. Cassidy. 

Cassidy then secured a commitment from Deputy Secretary Turk to work with the White House to make progress on Louisiana’s application.

“I’m happy to talk about this with our White House colleagues as well and try to make some progress. I understand the urgency of what you’re saying,” said Deputy Secretary Turk.