Tuesday, August 11, 2009

City of Greenville, Ohio Opposed to Large-scale CO2 Sequestration Project - City Officials Put On the Spot

Greenville Officials Put on The Spot at Tuesday Council Meeting

From WTGR Radio in Greenville, OH (Link to the story is here)

“I have been against this project from the beginning. There are a thousand other options available to reduce CO2 emissions.”

Those were the words of Greenville Councilman John Baumgartner at Tuesday’s council meeting as council and other city officials were challenged to give their personal opinions of the potential carbon sequestration project at the ethanol plant in Greenville. One by one, every official in the room did just that during the public hearing portion of the meeting as two Greenville citizens, Lynn Bliss and Enid Goubeax, put officials on the spot in front of a packed council room, filled with members of the Citizens Against Carbon Sequestration. Though neither Bliss or Goubeaux were directly representing the group on Tuesday, they shared the same sentiment that the city’s recent official press release did not go far enough in addressing the controversial issue. Those present also took issue with a particular phrase in the press release that they felt was inaccurate. That statement indicated that there was a “rift in the community” over the project.

“We want to show that there is no rift in the community, but there may be a rift between the community and its’ government. The community, though, has been untied by this issue”, stated Bliss.

Goubeaux added that she had lived in the community since 1961 and had never seen area residents as untied as they are currently in their opposition to this potential project. What Goubeaux said next, however, is what began perhaps the lengthiest public hearing portion of a council meeting in many years…

“We are going to be calling each of you in the next few days to ask you to express your personal view (on this project)”, said Goubeaux, “ A no comment will be interpreted as a vote of support.”

Though reactions to the aggressive tactic varied by official, all present opted not to wait for the phone call and answered directly on Tuesday evening.

All the statements indicated that city officials are against the project for many of the same reasons that residents have expressed. Councilman Leon Rogers stated, “I am more against it the more that I learn about it.” Referring to the fact that the federal government may play a role in the final decision he said, “If it will be anywhere, it should be under Washington D.C.”

That was one of many statements that drew applause from attendees. However, much of the discussion during the evening was heated as officials stated they took offense to the indication that they had not researched the issues. Rogers asked residents yesterday not to mistake silence for indifference, saying, “We have been doing what you were doing, gathering information. ”

During dialogue between Anne Vehry, a founder of The Citizens Against Carbon Sequestration and City Law Director Jeff Amick, Amick expressed what other officials had already indicated- that the city may be powerless to stop the project. However, when asked what chance he thought there was of The Andersons moving forward with the project, he guessed it was less than 20%, “I can tell you, they don’t have any intention of the project going thru at this time. But until there is an actual project to stop, we can’t do anything. If we initiate legislation, we will have the burden of proof that the project is a public nuisance. “

Amick said that might be difficult to prove and would certainly be expensive. He added, as other officials did on Tuesday, that The Anderson’s was the most ethical and honest company with which he had ever done business. One common theme did emerge from the statements, and it was one that many did not want to hear. Most officials present, who have been researching the project for over a year, stated they thought carbon sequestration was likely inevitable even if the drilling was stopped here in Greenville.

“We are on the Mount Simon Sandstone. It covers numerous states and I believe that whether CO2 is pumped in at the Andersons in a test program or whether it’s pumped in the ground in Michigan or Indiana, the City of Greenville is going to be on top of sequestered CO2”, explained Greenville Safety/Service Director John Schmidt, “I just don’t want the test wells to be here”.

"Faith Into Action" - Wednesday, August 12, 7 PM

The Citizens Against CO2 Sequestration are inviting everyone to join them (rain or shine) at their county-wide “Faith Into Action Gathering” on Wednesday, August 12 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Greenville High School Football Stadium.

Including music, prayer and an update from members of the group, the gathering will also feature Hershel Fee, Pastor of the Lighthouse Christian Church; Pete Kontra, Pastor of the Oakland Church of the Brethren; and Bill Lyle, Pastor of the EUM Church.

When the Citizens Against CO2 formed less than six months ago, little did they know that a “miracle” was about to occur. After starting with a group of twelve, their message spread and their numbers grew. Today, thousands of Greenville and Darke County residents have joined their quest to stop the sequestration of carbon dioxide (CO2) at the Andersons Marathon Ethanol Plant in Greenville’s Industrial Park. At no time has their quest been against the plant or its operation. Instead, it has been against the experimental sequestration project only.

As if the increase in their numbers is not miracle enough, other citizens’ action groups are forming in Arcanum and in Gettysburg. It is expected that more groups will follow.

During their first Citizens Action meeting at the Lighthouse Christian Center, 1,000 residents attended to show their support. Almost as many turned away because there was no place left to park outside and only standing room was left inside. As traffic lined up to turn into the center, Sebring Warner Road and State Route 127 were blocked for two miles or more. By their huge attendance, residents stated in no uncertain terms that they do not want the high-risk experimental sequestration of CO2 to take place near their communities or in their county.

Speaking at that meeting were Nachy Kanfer, Associate Regional Representative of the Sierra Club; Kathleen Boutis, President of the Green Coalition; and Kerwin Olson, Project Director and Lobbyist for Citizens Action of Indiana. They all agreed the Citizens Against CO2 Sequestration have accomplished in months what few citizens-action groups have accomplished in years.

Darke County Engineer Jim Surber said he has not seen this much community support since he first moved to Darke County over 32 years ago. He, Mike Bowers, Mayor of Greenville, and the Greenville, Neave, and Van Buren Township Trustees, have temporarily halted seismic testing along county and township roads. Seismic testing is the preliminary step to the beginning of the sequestration process.

On Tuesday, August 4, The Greenville City Council and Administration were asked to state their opinions individually on the proposed CO2 sequestration project. They had already issued a collective statement earlier.

Expressing concerns for the city and its residents as well as for their children and future generations, council members and administrative officers unanimously agreed that although it had risks and was wrong for Greenville, they felt powerless to stop it because it is being funded by the Federal Government on private land. Jeff Amick, Attorney for the city, said that he, more than anyone, has studied ways to prevent this project. He said he would wear a green shirt and ride a bus to Washington D.C. if he could stop it. John Schmidt said he did not want to look back one day as people pointed to Greenville as the place where a CO2 experiment had gone wrong.

Because of the overwhelming opposition of Darke County residents, the Darke County Commissioners passed a Resolution in late July, stating they are in opposition to the sequestration project due to its unknown risks and potential harm to Darke County. They also asked The Andersons Marathon Ethanol Plant officials to honor their request to halt the proposed CO2 project. Although plant officials have since responded, their response has not offered any definite assurance that the project will be discontinued.

Working hard to stop the sequestration project in Greenville, Jan Teaford, who is co-chairman of the Citizens Against CO2 Sequestration, has used her computer skills to set up web and blog sites. At the blog site, she and several other members of the group have provided links that lead to scientific and geological information concerning CO2 sequestration. As a result, they have brought the proposed sequestration site to the attention of the world. Not only has the blog site been visited by persons from throughout the nation, including Washington D.C., but it is not unusual to see visitors from Australia, Japan, Great Britain, and other countries as well. Some have sent back words of encouragement, giving their support to the movement against CO2 sequestration. This blog site can be located at http://citizensagainstco2sequestration.blogspot.com/

The more the group studies, the more they know that CO2 is definitely an experiment with risks. From the contamination of fertile crop land to the pollution of two major aquifers, from injection-induced earthquakes to the de-evaluation of homes and properties- -the risks threaten both livelihoods and lives while offering no compensation, no protection, and no guarantees against future liabilities.

Making these risks known to the public hasn’t been easy. Some of the members have spent long hours reading and studying both national and international scientific reports. Many of the members credit God for directing them, faith for sustaining them, and prayer for inspiring them to keep going. As Rita McCans said, “We turned our faith into action which has resulted in thousands of Darke County citizens coming together for the common good of all.”

Regardless of their political, religious or sociological backgrounds, these Darke County citizens are working together peaceably to achieve a common goal – the goal of stopping the CO2 sequestration project. As they work toward this goal, they are putting aside their differences to do what they think is best for not only their county but for the communities in which they live.

While they have accomplished much, they know if they are to accomplish more, they need still another “miracle” - - the “miracle” of a growing grassroots movement that can stand up to and stop a Federally-funded project, which they know can cause more problems that it can ever solve.

As thousands of citizens come together at Harmon field on August 12, they will by their presence be speaking with one voice to send a clear message to Washington D.C. that they oppose this project. More importantly, they will be putting into action the very foundation upon which the United States of America was founded, “In God We Trust.”

Anne Vehre, Co-Chair

Carbon Sequestration - Not likely

Carbon Sequestration: Not Likely
by Peter Montague
This article comes from the disove

Back to the depths
Among the experimental carbon sequestration projects is in Texas, where liquid carbon would be injected into ancient super-salty water a mile underground.

How Carbon Capture Works

How Carbon Offsets Work

Top 10 Worst Effects of Global Warming

THE SCOOP: Big energy producers are looking at capturing carbon emissions from their fossil fuel burning and burying it deep underground. That way it stays out of the atmosphere and doesn't contribute to global warming. Here's what Peter Montague, executive director of Environmental Research Foundation, has to say about the idea. For a very different perspective, check out Discovery Tech [link here].

Whenever we burn fossil fuels (gasoline, natural gas, oil, or coal) we emit carbon dioxide (CO2) as a waste product. This waste CO2 contributes to two big problems:

(1) The earth is getting warmer, producing more and bigger storms, more floods, and worse droughts, thus disrupting food production and water supplies. This is serious.

(2) The oceans are growing more acid (CO2 plus water = carbonic acid). Many creatures at the base of the oceanic food chain live inside a thin, hard shell -- and carbonic acid attacks their shell, threatening the base of ocean life. This too is serious.

The ideal solution would be to stop making waste CO2 by phasing out fossil fuels and getting our energy from solar power in all its forms (direct sunlight, wind, and hydro dams). We know how to do this today but solar power remains somewhat more expensive then fossil fuels.
Solar has three big advantages -- (1) the sun shines everywhere so it provides "energy independence" for everyone; (2) using solar creates little or no CO2 wastes; and (3) the supply is endlessly renewable, so we won't run out. The sun doesn't shine at night but the wind blows at night and a "smart grid" with diverse power storage can keep the energy flowing everywhere 24/7. Today, the sun can provide the "base-load" power we need.

What prevents us from adopting renewable solar power is not the cost; it's the political muscle of the fossil fuel companies (oil and coal). Obviously they want us to keep burning fossil fuels because they're heavily invested.The people who run these companies aren't dumb -- they know CO2 is a big problem, so recently they devised an end-of-pipe solution: they propose to capture the CO2 and pressurize it until it turns into a liquid, then send it by pipeline to a suitable location and pump it a mile or so underground, hoping it will stay there forever. They call this "carbon capture and storage," or CCS for short.

What's wrong with this plan? In a nutshell:

1) The plan entails as many as 10,000 separate disposal sites in the U.S. alone. This would require creation of a hazardous-waste-CO2 disposal industry as big as the oil industry.

2) CCS itself would require lots of energy. For every four power plants, we would have to build a fifth power plant just to capture and store CO2. This would waste even more coal and oil.

3) Every engineer knows that avoiding waste is far better than managing waste. So CCS is fundamentally bad design.

4) Creating and running an enormous CO2 hazardous-waste disposal industry would roughly double the cost of fossil-fueled electricity. But this would make solar energy cost-competitive, so why not invest in renewable solar power now instead of investing in a dead-end CO2-waste disposal industry?

5) It would take decades to build this huge new CCS industry -- but we need solutions to the CO2 problem soon. Solar power plants can be built much faster than this experimental CCS plan could develop.

6) Instead of solving the CO2 problem that we've created, CCS would pass the problem along to our children and their children and their children's children. Basically buried CO2 could never be allowed to leak back out. We should take responsibility for our own problems, not pass them to our children to manage.

7) Scientists paid by the fossil fuel companies say the CO2 will never leak back out of the ground. What what if they're mistaken? Then our children will inherit a hot, acid-ocean, ruined world.

8) Sooner or later we're going to run out of fossil fuels -- all of them -- so eventually we have to adopt solar power. CCS just delays the inevitable -- a huge waste of time and money. We should skip CCS and go solar today.

Peter Montague, Ph.D., is the executive director of Environmental Research Foundation in New Brunswick, N.J. Since 1986 he has published Rachel's News weekly (www.rachel.org), providing information about environmental health issues to grass-roots community groups.