People Less Likely To Support Carbon Capture If It’s Nearby

A new study suggests Hoosiers support underground carbon capture programs, but they wouldn't want such a power plant near them.

Gibson power plant

Photo: Duke Energy (Flickr)

The Gibson station power plant in Gibson County near Owensville is one of the largest coal plants in the nation.

Correction: An earlier headline on this story indicated  surveyed Hoosiers were would oppose carbon capture technology. As the article indicates, a majority say they would support such a process.

Energy companies hoping to use new technology to reduce their power plants’ carbon emissions could face serious opposition, according to a study from the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

The Environmental Protection Agency recently proposed limits on carbon emissions from any newly built power plant.  One of the ways companies could meet those standards would be to employ what’s called carbon capture techniques — basically capturing the carbon emissions and storing them underground.

In a survey of Indiana residents, SPEA Dean John Graham and his colleagues found 80 percent of Hoosiers support that technology. But only about 64 percent would support being built in their communities.

“There are families and businesses that are concerned that somehow the carbon dioxide that’s under the ground could leak out into their basements or into their homes,” says Graham.

He adds that the survey only collected opinions from Indiana residents, but that the sample could still be very beneficial because of Indiana’s reputation as a coal-producing state.

That doesn’t mean it would be impossible to build carbon capture systems — but energy companies would need to plan for public resistance if they plan to do so.

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