Walsh advocates for new coal technology

2014-07-10T19:00:00Z 2014-07-11T09:57:13Z Walsh advocates for new coal technologyBy TOM LUTEY tlutey@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

U.S. Sen. John Walsh, D-Mont, is calling on the federal government to invest in new coal technology that could help Montana’s coal industry comply with tougher clean-air standards.

Walsh on Thursday proposed developing 10 carbon capture and sequestration projects over the next decade as a way to deal with pollution from power plants. Carbon capture typically involves pumping carbon pollution underground where it can be trapped. There are seven large carbon capture projects in the United States now, including the $85 million Northern Montana Kevin Dome project in Toole County.

Kevin Dome is a 700 square-mile rock feature positioned deep underground like an upside down bowl. The dome naturally traps carbon dioxide. Researchers, lead by Montana State University in Bozeman, plan to pump carbon dioxide into the dome next year. In May, the group drilled holes into another Northern Montana area, where it plans to extract carbon dioxide for the experiment.

Walsh said the federal government needs to develop carbon capture technology as it requires polluters to comply with stricter clean air standards. His hope is that carbon-capture technology will keep Montana’s coal energy economy viable.

“Montana doesn’t have to choose between good jobs and clean air,” Walsh said, announcing his proposal. “We can have both. We must have a Montana-made solution to protect our jobs and the health of our children.”

Walsh’s proposal involves developing 10 carbon capture and sequestration facilities in 10 years.

The senator said climate change is a threat to Montana and the environment, but any solution that doesn’t involve carbon capture is inadequate.

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