Many people say pump the poison underground! Out of sight, out of mind. Sort of like sweeping the proverbial problem under the rug. However, with Carbon Sequestration the CO2 is highly toxic as it’s in high concentration. One month ago, on July 14, 2010 Senator George Voinovich (R) along with Senator Rockefeller (D), of West Virginia, proposed a $20 billion Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) bill. http://rockefeller.senate.gov/press/CCS1X9.pdf. Senator Sherrod Brown (D) has also expressed interest in the bill. This is their version of the Cap & Trade bill that was D.O.A. once it landed in the Senate.
There are several issues related to Carbon Sequestration. First of all is the shear economics of capturing carbon from the emitting plant. To start with, existing electricity generating coal-fired plants will have to install expensive equipment to capture the carbon. Once the carbon is captured it will need to be transported via newly built pipelines from the generating station to the point of storage. Pipelines are the preferred choice of transportation for two reasons. One, economically it will be the cheapest form of transportation as each coal-fired plant literally produces tons of CO2 in a relative short period of time. Secondly, it will be much safer for the public with fewer trucks on the road and it limits the potential of high concentrations of CO2 escaping into populated areas if a tanker truck were to be in an accident or overturn.
Here’s where opponents of Carbon Sequestration come into play. The storage area or injection point. Here in the Miami Valley, of Southwest Ohio, the EPA, Department of Energy, and firms affiliated with Carbon Sequestration targeted Darke County as a place to inject CO2 . However, after vocal opposition, last year they abandoned the pilot program. For now. But that hasn’t stopped them from seeking other sites in and around the area. One of the main areas of concern for opponents of CCS is what impact the CO2 will have on the aquifer. To store the carbon it will be pumped under intense pressure through piping below the aquifer. Here in the Miami Valley that aquifer supplies clean drinking water to more than 1.2 million people. What makes the Miami Valley so enticing for CCS is also what makes the area marketable for industry, future economic development, and farming. The sandstone and limestone beneath West Central and Southwest Ohio can hold vast quantities of liquid. That has always been H2O, but now there are politicians thinking it should hold CO2 .