Carbon capture & storage
Carbon dioxide gas, released into the air by the burning of fossil fuels, is largely responsible for the greenhouse effect and resulting climate change. Carbon Sinks are areas that sequester, or absorb and store carbon dioxide, removing it from the air. Oceans, soils and vegetation are mediums for such storage. Forests are thought to be the most efficient and beneficial carbon sinks since they replace carbon dioxide with oxygen. Some believe carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, or geosequestration, is a man-made version of nature’s carbon sinks. This theoretical process employs modern technology to capture carbon dioxide gas from large polluters such as factories and power plants. It then envisions transporting this gas by pipeline or ship to depleted oil and gas wells or underground saline formations where it is compressed it into a liquid and injected deep underground. It is necessary to transport CO2 gas to distant locations is because power plants are often located near coal deposits which are unsuitable for carbon storage.

Some say CCS technology could be an important tool for reducing greenhouse gas and the need to curb our use of fossil fuels. Opponents say CCS technology is expensive, risky, untested and unlikely to work well. They claim a new generation of modern coal gasified power plants, needed for the CCS process, will require 25% of the plant’s total power output just to keep operating. Once the CO2 arrives at its destination, it must be compressed before being injected into the ground. Including transport, this step consumes an additional 20% of the energy yielded by burning coal in the first place. Not included in these expenses are the costs of equipment, infrastructure and drilling new injection wells should we run out of old oil wells. Also, after being filled and capped, many of these wells will then need to be indefinitely monitored to detect dangerous CO2 leaks that could, under certain conditions, be lethal to humans and animals living nearby.

Since 2010, Mississippi has been building the $5.6 billion Kemper County facility which is trying to deploy CCS technology. This facility, initially estimated to cost $2.4 billion, is designed to capture 65% of its CO2 emissions but has been beset with long delays and cost-increases. Critics say CCS technology has not been proven on an industrial scale and that many in industry and government don’t think it will work. They claim carbon capture and storage is being used to divert focus and funding away from the development of cleaner burning fuels, where these funds would be better spent. Kemper County has received at least $500 million in federal aid.

Pending Legislation:
S.601 - Advanced Clean Coal Technology Investment in Our Nation Act of 2015 or the ACCTION Act of 2015

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Poll Opening Date
February 13, 2020
Poll Closing Date
February 19, 2020

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