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Public outcry against carbon capture in Louisiana growing

Sharon Lavigne, a leader of Rise St. James, a grassroots environmental advocacy group in her predominantly Black community, says her neighbors are mostly unaware of how carbon capture and sequestration works. (Photo courtesy of the Goldman Environmental Prize)

By Terry L. Jones for The Lens and Capital B

Communities of people across south Louisiana say that they want to protect themselves from what they consider to be a risky and possibly dangerous prospect of having tons of carbon dioxide injected underground to reduce the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. 

A state legislative task force is now exploring the impacts this could have in Louisiana. 

But those living in lower income or majority-minority communities worry that voices from neighborhoods that are whiter and galvanize more quickly will have a greater say in where these projects go — or if they will be built. 

The process, called Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) — is meant to capture the planet-warming gas from industry and store it permanently underground. 

It’s become a top Biden administration solution to meeting the country’s 2050 net-zero emissions goals, though critics say it’s a dangerous end-run that allows polluters to take the focus off of reducing overall emissions.

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