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Webb co-sponsor of Senate billpromoting carbon sequestration

Staff report • Mar 5, 2007 at 11:21 AM

U.S. Sen. James Webb, D-Va., is co-sponsor of legislation to fund research to accelerate the safe and effective development of geological carbon sequestration, a method touted to capture and stash carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants deep underground.

The National Carbon Dioxide Storage Capacity Assessment Act of 2007 would authorize the U.S. Geological Survey, coordinating with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Administration, to conduct a comprehensive assessment of carbon storage capacity. Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., is the measure's chief sponsor.

"Generations of Virginians know the value of coal's role as a domestic energy source. This legislation is an important step to develop technologies that allow us to use fossil fuels in a more efficient and environmentally sound manner," Webb said Friday.

Webb expressed much interest in the carbon sequestration method during a recent visit with coal producers in Abingdon.

"Senator Webb showed a deep appreciation for understanding the concepts before proceeding to make legislative decisions affecting the coal industry," said Barbara Altizer, executive director of the Eastern Coal Council, sponsor of the event at the Martha Washington Inn in Abingdon attended by Webb.

"The Coal Council appreciated the senator's visit to the coalfields to learn more about today's clean coal technologies, carbon sequestration and energy education, among other issues," she said. "The council is pleased to see Senator Webb's interest in coal and research for coal. Coal can play a key role in helping the United States achieve energy independence."

Besides meeting with coal producers in Abingdon, Webb also took a tour of the Laurel Mountain underground coal mine in Russell County. He also visited CGI-AMS offices in Lebanon, a technology giant planning a 400-job expansion in Russell County. Webb also toured the General Dynamics & Technical Products plant in Marion and the Radford Army Ammunition depot in Radford.

The carbon sequestration legislation has two primary components, establishing a methodology to perform the capacity assessment and execution of the national survey.

If enacted, the U.S. Geological Survey will gather and analyze data from all 50 states and all sedimentary basins to assess carbon storage potential. A database will be published for public use.

Webb joins Salazar in support of the measure along with Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., as an original co-sponsor. Rep. Bart Gordon, D-Tenn., chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology, has introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives.

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