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MT Looks at Lassoing Greenhouse Gas Pollution for Cash

February 2, 2007


You can't see it, smell it, or taste it -- but it can be captured, and that's a good thing for Montana. The legislature is looking at ways to ensure that, when Montana's large coal reserves are tapped, new coal plants don't contribute to greenhouse gas pollution with carbon dioxide emissions.

It's possible the carbon pollution could be isolated and pumped back into the ground, or sold to other industries. Kathy Hadley with the National Center for Appropriate Technology says pumping the gas underground, where it would dissipate, is another option.

"There are scientists around the country working on this, but the idea is to put the carbon right back into the
ground so it's not in our atmosphere."

Overall, it's a timely issue, with an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change releasing a report today that documents greenhouse gases' contribution to accelerated climate change. Hadley believes it's also possible in some cases that carbon dioxide "pollution" could be a product to sell to the oil and gas industry.

"If you inject the carbon dioxide into the old wells, it changes the underground pressure and helps to bring up oil to
the surface and make those wells produce a viable product to sell."

The Montana legislation is House Bill 282; the House Natural Resources Committee votes on it today.

Deborah Smith/Jamie Folsom, Public News Service - MT