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Holcomb Signs Off On Carbon Storage Project

By Rebecca Thiele, IPB News | Published on in Business, Environment, Government, Statewide News
Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a bill into law approving a carbon dioxide underground storage pilot project as well as a statewide study of carbon capture. (Justin Hicks/IPB News)
Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a bill into law approving a carbon dioxide underground storage pilot project as well as a statewide study of carbon capture. (Justin Hicks/IPB News)

A pilot project to store carbon dioxide emissions underground has gotten the green light from the governor. Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a bill into law approving the pilot project as well as a statewide study of carbon capture.

Wabash Valley Resources LLC plans to build a $450 million ammonia production facility in Terre Haute as part of the pilot and store its CO2 emissions underground. Holcomb says it’s good environmental stewardship.

“And it also balances the huge potential for economic development,” he says.

Activists with the Citizens Action Coalition are lukewarm on the new law. Executive director Kerwin Olson says while only one company hopes to take up the practice right now, we need to get away from burning fossil fuels.

“We need to leave the carbon in the ground and move toward carbon free energy and carbon free manufacturing,” he says.

Last year, President Donald Trump increased incentives for carbon capture — including storing CO2 and using it to recover oil. According to a White House press release, storing CO2 is “less disruptive” for businesses and utilities than trying to reduce their emissions.

The bill has undergone a lot of changes since it was first introduced in the Indiana Senate. At first, it would have made it easier for companies to get permission to store CO2, then it was only a summer study, and later added a pilot program.

Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.