Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, announced Dec. 29 that the EPA has granted his state long-sought Class VI primacy—the authority to permit, site and provide oversight of carbon storage wells in the state.

Given the density of oil and gas production, midstream, and downstream processing, as well as the proximity of well-suited underground formations for sequestration, Louisiana has been a focus of carbon capture and storage initiatives. That has been hampered by the backlog of permit applications at EPA, which is expected to be somewhat relieved by the granting of primacy to the state.

“Louisiana worked to receive the authority to regulate capturing and storing carbon,” Cassidy said. “This unlocks the next phase of job creation and economic development in Louisiana. It also creates a competitive advantage compared to other states while protecting the environment.”

In April, EPA announced it intended to grant Louisiana primacy. The agency then extended the public comment period an extra 30 days. According to Cassidy’s office, of the 41,622 total comments submitted to the EPA in the initial comment period, the agency deemed just over 400 as substantial comments. The vast majority of public comments have been supportive of Class VI primacy in Louisiana.

Over the next few months the state’s Department of Environmental Quality, along with other state offices, will make final arrangements for the permitting process. Details were not immediately available, but it is expected that DEQ will coordinate with EPA for the transfer of permit applications already in process.