The Louisiana Climate Action Plan was released by the Climate Initiatives Task Force in response to the Governor's Executive Order JBE 2020-18 to develop strategies and actions to address the causes of climate change and seize the opportunities presented by the energy transition. The plan charts 28 interconnected strategies and 84 supporting actions to help the state meet its goal of net-zero GHG emissions by 2050.
"Actively Managed Methane Emissions" is among the areas of focus deemed critical to the achievement of this target. This area is supported by two overarching strategies, which are in turn supported by a number of actions:
Strategy 1: Increase and mobilise resources for decommissioning legacy oil and gas infrastructure.
- Action 1: Hold former well operators accountable for orphaned wells. The definition of "responsible party" for orphaned wells should be expanded to include all former well operators to ensure that responsibility does not shift to the state. Additional actions could include clarifying the right of landowners with abandoned wells on their property to sue former well operators to plug wells.
- Action 2: Strengthen financial security requirements for plugging wells. Currently, loopholes in financial security regulation, including the use of blanket securities, allow operators to evade requirements and avoid plugging wells. A legislative reform to close these loopholes will incentivise compliance with operator requirements.
- Action 3: Tighten the "future utility" designation and requirements for inactive wells. Wells that are current designated as "future utility" should be reviewed and the rules changed to limit the duration that a well can have this status.
- Action 4: Provide workforce training to plug legacy wells. The DNR's Office of Conservation should establish an Abandoned Well Pilot Program to train and equip unemployed Louisiana residents to replug abandoned leaking wells.
Strategy 2: Monitor and regulate methane emissions.
- Action 1: Enact methane waste rules. These rules may be aligned with the EPA-drafted Standards of Performance for New, Reconstructed, and Modified Sources and Emissions Guidelines for Existing Sources.
- Action 2: Establish methane monitoring stations in the GHG Monitoring Program. To this end, the DEQ may work with external stakeholders to deploy emerging technologies, including satellite imagery and remote sensing.
- Action 3: Enable an effective leak detection and repair program. Such a program may be modelled after the U.S. EPA LDAR Program and Best Practice Guide.