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Last week just my accident, I became aware of the CO2 sequestration project that the federal government is undertaking in Darke County. I then attended a meeting last Wednesday (July 8, 2009) night held at the Lighthouse church in Greenville near the Ethanol plant to learn more. Several hundred people attended, and the information provided was very disturbing and could impact the surrounding counties too. You may already know all about it, but if not, I offer the following information for your consideration.
The Dept. of Energy has contracted with Battelle to conduct seismic tests in the Greenville area to determine the viability of the CO2 sequestration proposal, which could store up to 95.6 billion tons of super critical CO2 in sandstone surrounding a salt water aquifer 3500+ feet underground there. This storage area could surpass 1000 square miles, and since Darke County is only 600 square miles, it will likely spill into surrounding areas. Super critical CO2 is not a gas, but an industrial solvent (liquid) that is highly acidic. When placed underground, it will be kept at 1500 psi of pressure, which we were told has never been done before. As an acid, it will eat away at surrounding rock minerals until it neutralizes itself. The plan is to put CO2 from the Ethanol plant in Greenville underground there, but also to ship it in from around the country. This has been one of 10 prime sites identified by the DOE for this type of sequestration.
There is a great deal of uncertainty about the impact of such a project. It is unclear if the drilling or the storage will de-stabilize the rock underneath to the point of triggering seismic events. It will definitely pollute the salt water aquifer, which some agencies in Ohio have identified as a resource that may need to be tapped and desalinated in 10 years or so if the water shortages continue to grow. In addition, to reach the bed for the CO2, the sole underground fresh water aquifer in the area coming in from Indiana and stretching down into northern Cincinnati, will have to be drilled through. If there is any pipe leakage, then a significant water supply will be polluted and potentially impact the whole Southwestern Ohio region. There is an estimate that the CO2 will be retained underground for 700 years. If there would be a seismic event that released CO2 into the atmosphere in any great amount, suffocation of citizens would occur because CO2 weighs more than oxygen and displaces it in the atmosphere.
There is a web-site that the Darke County citizens opposed to the project have set up, as follows:
The City Engineer, Jim Surber, and Dr. Paul Jones, could be available to come speak to the community, the Council and the County Commissioners on the matter. They are very informed on the topic, and are able to explain it well and answer questions. I highly recommend that you review this matter in more depth with them. It sounds like it could be a potential disaster for Miami County.
Thank you for listening,