LACAG: The Carbon Capture Ruse is Coming to a County Near You

Carbon Capture Sequestration, or “CCS,” is the process whereby carbon dioxide is “captured” before it enters the atmosphere, then transported through pipelines and stored underground in order to “protect” the environment from “harmful” carbon dioxide emissions generated from coal and natural gas plants.  The Biden Administration has earmarked billions of taxpayer dollars in order to implement CCS nationally.  The technology is being promoted by a number of environmental groups as well as big energy companies who will be soaked with federal taxpayer subsidies in order to build the CCS facilities.

It should be understood that CCS is a profit- driven, taxpayer-funded snow job that ignores scientific reality. CCS will serve nobody except multi-billionare dollar corporations and the State legislators who pass the laws enabling its development.  CCS profoundly disserves the average American taxpayer.

As proof that CCS works, its proponents often cite the 1972 CCS project launched at a natural gas processing plant in Val Verde, Texas. The problem is that there is no evidence that the Val Verde CCS operation even marginally reduced net CO2 emissions. On the contrary, Val Verde was an enhanced oil recovery (EOR) operation whereby the CO2 captured from oil and gas production was injected into depleted oil and gas reserves to re-pressurize them and extract more oil and gas. The result was more, not less, greenhouse gas discharge. The suggestion that Val Verde is an example of the environmental benefits of CCS is wildly misplaced.

Little has changed since Val Verde. Between eighty and ninety percent of all CCS projects undertaken since 1972 have been little more than EOR projects thinly disguised as climate friendly, CO2 reducing exercises. Less than 20 percent (generously) of CCS projects have resulted in the permanent underground storage of CO2. This is a stunning statistic and demonstrates that expanded CCS operations whose chief purpose is increased oil production will result in more, rather than less, CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. One does not need to be an environmental expert to conclude that this is the opposite of the stated purpose of CCS.

Not that EOR is a bad thing. It’s quite a good thing to get more of a precious natural resource out of the ground which can fuel our economy. We are simply here discussing the “emissions” angle we are supposed to be so concerned with.

Even without the increased CO2 discharge caused by EOR, there is little proof that the CCS process itself significantly reduces net atmospheric CO2. CCS is an expensive, energy intensive undertaking that requires essentially the building of a separate power plant to run the system. CCS emits huge amounts of CO2 into the air, and it is far from certain whether CCS captures more CO2 from oil refineries than it emits through its own processes, or by how much.

Billions of taxpayer dollars have already been poured into multiple CCS projects over decades, the vast majority of which have been failures. The massive Petra Nova coal plant in Texas is a prime example. After consistently failing to perform as expected, the plant was finally closed for good in 2021. At the time of its closure, Petra Nova was the only operational CCS project on US soil. Another example is the San Juan Generating Station in New Mexico, publicly hailed at its inception as the largest carbon capture project in the world. San Juan closed for good on September 22, 2022. And, according to a Tyndall Centre analysis the remaining CCS facilities in current global operation have the capacity to capture only 0.1% of CO2 emissions annually, the vast majority of which are used for EOR to produce more oil, which in turn leads to increased CO2 emissions.

Despite its history of failure, Louisiana Senate Bill 353 declared CCS a “public good” as a matter of Louisiana policy without one minute of meaningful legislative debate about whether the environmental and long-term economic benefits justify the enormous cost to the taxpayers footing the bill. Further, by declaring CCS a “public good,” the new law makes it that much easier for corporations to take private property through eminent domain in order to build the miles of industrial pipelines designed to transport and store the captured CO2 and bury it on private land. The law strengthens big corporations, and weakens property owners.

At its core, CCS is predicated upon the popular lie that anthropogenic (man-made), CO2 caused climate change is settled science. Ross McKitrick and William Happer are only two of many experts who contend that the actual scientific evidence does not support a significant connection between anthropogenic CO2 and climate change. CO2 emissions represent barely 0.04% of all atmospheric gases, and it is vital to life on earth. It is inexplicable that there was no legislative debate on the issue of man-made climate change before passing such a consequential law predicated directly upon its truth.

The Louisiana legislature apparently did not have time before passing SB 353 to seriously debate whether there is actual evidence that anthropogenic CO2 emissions really have the capacity to affect something as dynamic as the earth’s climate. If it does not, why are we running this bootless boondoggle to begin with, at enormous cost to American taxpayers and risk to American property owners?

If this were a high school science project, failure to fully and critically examine the actual science of climate change as well as the actual history of CCS and its real implications for our citizens would be less consequential.  At stake, however, is a multi-billion dollar, legislatively sanctioned and taxpayer subsidized climate fraud being perpetrated on Louisiana taxpayers and property owners while weakening private property rights.

To be clear, LACAG supports broad oil and gas development and the use of fossil fuels to supply our energy needs. But falsely declaring CCS a “public good” as a matter of Louisiana public policy so that energy companies can more easily expropriate private property through abuse of eminent domain and line their pockets with billions of dollars of our money does a great disservice to the citizens of Louisiana and erodes the core right of private property. Yet, here we are, and it all happened under the unquestioning gaze of the Louisiana legislature. Follow the Big Green Biden Billions.  You will likely not be surprised where it ends up.

Christopher Alexander
Louisiana Citizen Advocacy Group
www.lacag.org

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