By Jesse George, New Orleans Policy Director
These comments were given at the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources hearing concerning LDNR Class IV-Well Primacy Application to the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Louisiana is a tragic case. Our state is addicted to fossil fuels, and like many addicts, instead of seeking to break our addiction, we seek ways to become functional addicts. The pipedream of carbon capture and sequestration is a prime example of this.
Fossil fuel companies have touted the false solution of carbon capture and sequestration for decades as a way to obfuscate and distract from the harmful effects of continuing oil and gas extraction and associated greenhouse gas emissions. Last week, undercover video emerged of Exxon’s Senior Director for Federal Relations Keith McCoy candidly admitting to the underhanded tactics these companies use to prevent meaningful action to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change. Meanwhile, images of the infernal glow of an uncontrolled undersea fire at a natural gas well in the Gulf of Mexico played across our screens. We ignore such obvious portents at our peril.
Here we are in the midst of yet another hurricane season predicted to be more active than average. Of course, more frequent and more intense hurricanes are another symptom of a warming climate. I just returned from visiting my parents in Lake Charles over the holiday weekend. Their home still is not repaired from Hurricane Laura last year. I would be willing to bet that others in this room are in the same position, or know folks who are.
The executives of Exxon, or Chevron, or Shell, or BP, do not care for the people or the natural landscape of this state. They view it as just another place from which to extract whatever they can while contributing as little as possible in return. By contrast, I have never held an address outside of Louisiana or north of I-10 for that matter. I care deeply for this state, I believe it is worth fighting for and protecting, and I know that we do not have time to devote to false solutions.
Rather than lend credence to yet another lie of the fossil fuel industry, we should focus public resources on the only sure solution to our climate crisis: a sharp abatement of fossil fuel extraction, and a rapid deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy, which are the cheapest ways to meet our energy needs, are proven technologies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and provide the basis for a new clean energy economy, not one based on dirty oil and gas.
Above all, the great irony of the idea of carbon capture and sequestration is that Mother Nature perfected the secure storage of carbon billions of years ago in the form of petroleum deposits. The best way to keep excess carbon out of our atmosphere is to leave it in the ground.
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