DRC has long been skeptical about the prospect of Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) on coal-fired power plants. In 2006, DRC passed a resolution that outlined strict parameters for supporting CCS technology on coal-fired power plants: “such plants do not receive public subsidies, best management practices have been developed which guarantee the safety and effectiveness of carbon sequestration.” It has become clear that the current plans for CCS on coal-fired power plants within North Dakota do not meet these strict conditions. Additionally, in the 16 years since this resolution has been adopted it has also become clear that CCS on coal plants is a false climate solution.
Supporters of CCS on coal-fired power plants argue that the transportation and storage of C02 is a safe process. However, the rupturing of a C02 pipeline in Mississippi tells a different story. The leaked C02 from this CCS pipeline resulted in the deaths of animals, made cars inoperable, and led to dozens of people being hospitalized with severe conditions. Supporters of these projects also heavily depend upon public subsidies and 45Q tax credits for storing carbon underground. Developers in North Dakota are currently seeking millions of dollars in public funding to offset the massive cost to build and employ this technology.
History has shown that these projects are a waste of public investment. A recent report by the nonpartisan U.S Government Accountability Office recently found that the Department of Energy has invested $684 million in 8 coal CCS projects resulting in only one operational facility. Coal CCS technology consistently decreases the efficiency of the plant by 31 percent. This loss in efficiency leads to more coal being mined and higher electrical rates.
DRC is supportive of innovative solutions to address climate change. CCS technology on coal plants, however, is a failed climate solution. If these projects come to fruition there is a high probability they will waste millions in public funds while also posing a massive risk to the health of rural communities.