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President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency continue to pressure power plants to limit the amount of carbon they release into the air, and are even proposing taxes on carbon emissions. But Missouri is researching alternative ways of disposing its carbon byproducts. Senator Kit Bond spoke at a press conference on Wednesday about his support for the new research. KSMU’s Royal Yates got a chance to speak with the senator about the upcoming tests, and has this report.
City Utilities of Springfield held a press conference to report where they are in the process of researching alternative ways to dispose of carbon emissions that are created when burning coal to generate power. This process is more commonly referred to as carbon sequestration.
Among the speakers at the press conference was U.S. senator Kit Bond. Bond spoke briefly about the $2.4 million of federal funds that have been secured for the project to continue as well as his general support for it.
“We depend on energy for all that we do in the United States. In Missouri 80% of that electric energy comes from coal. There’s a lot of concern about carbon dioxide emissions from coal. City Utilities has come up with a very innovative way to try to store it permanently underground,” he said.
The goal of the City Utilities carbon sequestration project is to find a way to trap carbon dioxide emissions in a body of saltwater about 2000 feet under the Southwest Power Station in Springfield. Prior experiments have tested storing these harmful gases in deeper aquifers, but this experiment will test a smaller and more shallow body of water than what has been tested before.
Bond also said that the proposed ‘Cap & Trade’ taxes won’t make a difference if other countries don’t help as well.
He said, “Even the EPA admitted that if they impose the tax in the U.S. and nothing happens to reduce the emissions of coal-fired utilities in India and China, it will make no appreciable difference in the amount of carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere, and I think that’s just nuts!”
City Utilities plans to begin drilling the equivalent of nearly seven football fields down to the saline aquifer within the week. The rock they dig up will be sent to Missouri State University and Missouri University of Science and Technology to test how the Lamotte sandstone and other sediments will react to the carbon dioxide.
If the tests provide positive results, City Utilities says they will distribute food-grade carbon emissions like what is found in carbonated soft drinks into the aquifer and proceed with caution.
For more information on the carbon sequestration project, you can visit ksmu.org.
For KSMU News, I’m Royal Yates.