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Louisiana passes parish-specific law benefiting Strategic Biofuels’ renewable diesel project

From left, Noble Ellington, director of legislative affairs for the Office of the Governor; Paul Schubert, Strategic Biofuels CEO; Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards; State Rep. Neil Riser; and Bob Meredith, Strategic Biofuels chief operating officer. (Photo: Business Wire)

Strategic Biofuels announced July 27 that the state of Louisiana recently enhanced its nation-leading carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) legislation with provisions that provide additional carbon dioxide (CO2) reservoir storage security for projects in Caldwell Parish, the site of Strategic Biofuels’ Louisiana Green Fuels project.

The parish-specific legislation, which goes into effect Aug. 1, extends the eminent-domain acquisition of the pore rights for underground CO2 storage with a prohibition of third-party drilling through the storage reservoir. This drilling ban substantially reduces the risk of stored CO2 leakage. This legislation was passed unanimously by both houses of Louisiana’s State Legislature and signed into law by Gov. John Bel Edwards as Act 163 in late May. It received support from both the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association and the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil & Gas Association.

The drilling ban in the law aligns the Caldwell Parish project with the carbon-sequestration requirements of the California Air Resources Board’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard and facilitates qualification for credits for fuel delivered to that state. These credits, together with credits under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard and the federal sequestration tax credits, are significant contributors to the project’s revenues.

“This legislation is a major win for Strategic Biofuels and is another way that we worked together with the state and our governor to achieve numerous milestones that help ensure the LGF project succeeds,” said Paul Schubert, CEO of Strategic Biofuels. “Our working relationship with the state is a solid example of industry commitment and public policy paving the way for the unprecedented innovation of the LGF project.”

The project will produce clean renewable diesel fuel using waste wood from managed, sustainable forestry as well as all its own green power. Because both the carbon converted into fuel and the carbon permanently sequestered were first directly captured from the atmosphere by trees, Strategic Biofuels says the project “will produce the lowest carbon footprint liquid fuel in the world.”

Strategic Biofuels and the state have worked to achieve numerous milestones that will ensure that the LGF project succeeds. In February, the governor allocated $250 million of private activity bonds to the LGF project in addition to the $200 million allocated the previous year. In January, the Port of Columbia was awarded a $15 million grant for infrastructure improvements to help support Strategic Biofuels. This working relationship reflects the state’s focus on reaching net carbon zero by 2050 and is a solid example of industry commitment and public policy paving the way for the unprecedented innovation of the LGF project.

“I’m proud to have signed this bill into law,” said Edwards. “It advances our state’s climate initiative while bringing new opportunities for the traditional oil and gas industry and its workers. The Caldwell Parish project will bring significant economic benefits to the entire Northeastern Louisiana region.”

The law was originally introduced as HB267 to the State House by District 20 Rep. Neil Riser and in the State Senate by Sen. Glen Womack, and was signed into law as Act 163.

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