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Carbon capture and storage strengthens...

Carbon capture and storage strengthens Mississippi’s economic future

By: Haley Barbour - March 22, 2024

Haley Barbour

  • Former Governor Haley Barbour says Mississippi can be at the forefront of meeting global demand for low-carbon energy made from natural gas. 

Today’s energy economy is at an important crossroads that will impact every home, business and factory in our state. Energy is critical to Mississippi’s economic future and as global demand for low-carbon products continues to grow, we need to make smart, common-sense decisions that allow all technologies to compete fairly.

One of the most effective ways to create low-carbon products is with technologies like carbon capture and storage that complement our existing oil and natural gas infrastructure rather than dismantle it. Government, industry, and local communities are already partnering on expanding carbon capture and storage, particularly along the Gulf Coast. Over the coming years it will become even more important to see this technology flourish in Mississippi.

It is essential to emphasize that carbon capture and storage is a safe, proven technology that has been rigorously studied by experts across the country and around the world. It allows large industrial operations, like power generation and manufacturing facilities, to separate carbon dioxide before it reaches the atmosphere and transport it to locations where it can be stored half a mile or more below the surface. 

Now, some may wonder why this is important for Mississippi.

Due to our unique geology, experienced workforce and strong pro-business policies, Mississippi can be at the forefront of meeting global demand for low-carbon energy made from natural gas.  We can transport and store it both onshore and offshore. These factors can allow existing industrial facilities to expand and position our state to attract new investments in manufacturing that create jobs and grow our economy.

That’s why companies like ExxonMobil are investing big in Mississippi as a leader in the low-carbon energy economy. The company’s recent purchase of Denbury, which operates 1,300 miles of pipeline for transporting captured carbon dioxide across the country, reflects its commitment to reducing carbon emissions with carbon capture and storage. As one of the largest energy producers in the world, they have the resources to ensure this facility meets the highest safety, environmental and conservation standards. They also have committed to conduct broad community engagement so that every Mississippian is a partner in the process. 

Governor Tate Reeves’ recent announcements that a leading automotive manufacturer will create 2,000 new jobs in Marshall County and Amazon Web Services will invest $10 billion in Madison County, further demonstrates that Mississippi can be a destination for major manufacturers that create high paying jobs. ExxonMobil’s long-term investments in carbon capture will only add to this string of economic development success and set our state apart for future industrial and manufacturing companies who want those capabilities and infrastructure in place.

Our neighbors in Louisiana are already making a bet on carbon capture and storage. Last year their state Legislature cut regulatory red tape and became only the third state in the country to have oversight over carbon storage wells transferred from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to state regulators in a process known as primacy. So that we don’t fall into a competitive disadvantage, Mississippians must remain open to charting a similar path. 

The Biden Administration’s disastrous energy policy has put American jobs and our energy security at risk. It has closed off oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico and on federal lands, opposed exports of liquified natural gas, and added onerous red tape on new pipeline development. These policies will diminish supply and drive up costs for American families, sending energy production and manufacturing overseas to places like China, Russia and Iran. 

Mississippi can set an example for how to continue utilizing dependable, abundant sources of energy like natural gas, in a safe and responsible manner. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology is one answer to the left’s dangerous green agenda that seeks to eliminate fossil fuels, or about 80% of the energy we use for electricity, transportation and heating. CCS will help industry meet consumer demand and grow their businesses without sacrificing the fossil fuel sources that have kept energy affordable and our country strong for more than a century.

Mississippi has always embraced innovative sources of affordable, reliable energy that lower carbon emissions. As a former governor of this great state, I welcomed investments in a broad range of technologies, and that approach continues to benefit every Mississippian. Governor Reeves recently proclaimed, “The thirst for All-of-the-Above Energy has never been greater.” Our “all-of-the-above” strategy is an example that other states and the federal government should emulate. 

Carbon capture and storage can be a win-win solution for our state. I welcome every Mississippian to engage in this important conversation and play a role in making carbon capture and storage a centerpiece of our energy future.

About the Author(s)
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Haley Barbour

Haley Barbour served two terms as the Governor of Mississippi.