Archive for May 7th, 2009

by jhwygirl

Clearly, why waste time?

Governor Schweitzer signed SB498, the bad-bad-bad carbon sequestration bill I’ve blogged about several times… and before finishing out his day and before the sun went down he also inked a memorandum of understanding with Canadian Premier Brad Wall, committing $100 million each that will have Montana sequestering Canada’s CO2.

The $100 million they each committed? Montana’s is via as-of-yet unfunded U.S. taxpayer dollars, and Saskatchewan’s is via as-of-yet unfunded Canadian taxpayer dollars.

If you really want to understand how positively fruitless – not to say dangerously untested, considering the consequences and length of time-frames we are talking about – sequestration is, be sure to read Button Valley Press’ Captive Carbon? and CO2 Going To The Birds.

The amount Schweitzer and Wall are signing deals on? Laughable, if you consider that the only other carbon sequestration facility – built by U.S. taxpayer dollars, incidentally, cost the taxpayers $1.5 billion dollars in the 1980’s. That dollar figure translates to around $4 billion in today’s dollars.

Joe Romm, who ran alternative fuel programs during the Clinton Administration thinks a cost of $1 trillion is an insanely lowball figure to consider for sequestering our nation’s CO2 – and notes that the amount of CO2 that needs sequestered is equal to the amount of oil coming out of the ground. In other words – an astronomical amount. Check this 60 Minutes video of a report titled “Powered by Coal.”

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall isn’t immune to criticism, either – just this morning he was questioned by the Canadian legislature’s New Democrats about rising cost estimates of the sequestration deal.

He still went on – some might say perservered – and inked the deal…somewhere around 5:30.

One has to wonder why they can’t or why they won’t sequester their own CO2?

Why is it that Montana thinks the only way it can make money is to pimp its natural resources out at the expense risking Montana’s needed and necessary resources like clean air and water. Not to mention coal mining isn’t exactly the healthiest of occupations, either. Piping this stuff hundreds of miles?

The list goes on….

Hell – think about the infrastructure alone – a new railroad to move the coal; move the coal to to the plant; pipe it somewhere else to sequester it. That’s a hell of a lot of steel and diesel just to complete that task, no?

Being able to take a steambath in that stuff that come’s out of the stacks at a coal-burning plant still wouldn’t make coal clean considering the massive undertaking required to clean it.

But there’s wind..and Montana’s got plenty of it…but the problem as I see it is that wind doesn’t need all that heavy steel and diesel-supported infrastrucure – or not nearly so much of it. No railroad…no coal mining for 200 years. What it comes down to is a push to continue to back up an old industry and use what’s left of it – propping it up appropriately, of course, with taxpayer dollars – rather than make the transition to a cleaner industry that is “lightweight” compared to coal.

Update: The Billings Gazette put its report on the deal between Saskatchewan and Montana up sometime late last night.

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