NUMBY strikes Ohio

Lawrence Solomon

September 3, 2009

Not Under My Back Yard — the phenomenon of citizens’ groups organizing to stop the burial of carbon dioxide under their communities — succeeds again, this time in Ohio’s Darke County, where Citizens Against Carbon Sequestration successfully fought off a proposed $92.6-million carbon storage plan. Their 14-month protest effort involved yard signs, public meetings and a prayer rally.

And it succeeded. According to a local poll, more than 90% became convinced the project should be scrapped, primarily due to fears that injecting carbon dioxide into the ground could induce earthquakes, harm the aquifer that underpins the county’s agricultural economy. And lower their property values.

The storage plan, funded by something called the Midwest Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership, called for capturing one million tons of carbon dioxide from Ohio`s largest ethanol plant for storage 3,000-plus feet below ground. The Midwest partnership is primarily funded by the federal government ($61-million), with the rest coming from the Midwest Regional Carbon Sequestration Project’s 35 members, the largest funder among them being the Ohio Coal Development Office.

The partnership did attempt to quell public concerns, such as through an event hosted at the Ohio Center Dark County Fairgrounds called “Seismic Survey Show and Tell.” But in the end the partnership failed to even fully reassure the owner of the ethanol plan.

The Darke Country scheme collapsed after Battelle, the project leader, decided that continuing the fight would have been too costly for it. Explained Battelle spokesman T.R. Massey, “Economics mean a lot.”

Lawrence Solomon is executive director of Energy Probe and
Urban Renaissance Institute and author of The Deniers: The world-renowned
scientists who stood up against global warming hysteria, political persecution,
and fraud

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