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Plant would pipe carbon dioxide to oil rigs

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Carbon dioxide produced by a proposed coal gasification plant near the southern Indiana town of Rockport would be used to help boost oil production in the Gulf of Mexico under a plan by the company leading the project.

Developer William Rosenberg of Indiana Gasification LLC said his company would sell carbon dioxide created at the Rockport plant to Denbury Resources Inc. of Plano, Texas. Denbury would build a $1 billion pipeline to the Gulf and use the gas to force oil out of wells.

Companies in Illinois and Kentucky also have expressed interest in the pipeline to offset the cost, Rosenberg said.

The plant would turn coal into synthetic natural gas, stripping it of pollutants to create a gas similar to real natural gas. But finding a solution to the carbon dioxide emissions is crucial to the project.

Federal lawmakers want to curtail greenhouse gas emissions and have proposed a "cap and trade" system that would require power plants, factories and other emitters to pay for the right to release the gas.

Indiana Gasification last year withdrew its application with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission for permission to build the plant about 25 miles east of Evansville because of concerns over limits on greenhouse gases. Officials said then they hoped to revive the proposal in another form.

Rosenberg said the method he proposes to transport the carbon dioxide has proven effective at a gasification plant in North Dakota.

Gov. Mitch Daniels has said the Rockport plant would be the nation's first coal-gasification plant of its kind and put Indiana at the forefront of so-called "clean coal" technology.

The state ranked fourth in the nation for carbon dioxide emissions from mostly aging power plants in an Environment America report issued this week.

Daniels signed a bill into law in March that allows the state's finance authority to negotiate long-term contracts to buy and sell synthetic natural gas from the Rockport plant. But the project still has hurdles to overcome.

The Department of Energy is conducting an environmental impact study of the proposed plant, looking at pollution, noise and its impact on geology. The process could take up to two years.

The cost of the fuel produced also hasn't been determined. Rosenberg said he hopes to sell natural gas for $7.50 a therm, nearly double what natural gas was being sold for earlier this week.

Critics say the cost is too high, but Rosenberg said he expects ratepayers will save money by using gas made from coal as natural gas prices continue to rise.

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  1. How much you wanna bet, that 70% of the jobs created there (after construction) are minimum wage? And Harvey is correct, the vast majority of residents in this project will drive to their jobs, and to think otherwise, is like Harvey says, a pipe dream. Someone working at a restaurant or retail store will not be able to afford living there. What ever happened to people who wanted to build buildings, paying for it themselves? Not a fan of these tax deals.

  2. Uh, no GeorgeP. The project is supposed to bring on 1,000 jobs and those people along with the people that will be living in the new residential will be driving to their jobs. The walkable stuff is a pipe dream. Besides, walkable is defined as having all daily necessities within 1/2 mile. That's not the case here. Never will be.

  3. Brad is on to something there. The merger of the Formula E and IndyCar Series would give IndyCar access to International markets and Formula E access the Indianapolis 500, not to mention some other events in the USA. Maybe after 2016 but before the new Dallara is rolled out for 2018. This give IndyCar two more seasons to run the DW12 and Formula E to get charged up, pun intended. Then shock the racing world, pun intended, but making the 101st Indianapolis 500 a stellar, groundbreaking event: The first all-electric Indy 500, and use that platform to promote the future of the sport.

  4. No, HarveyF, the exact opposite. Greater density and closeness to retail and everyday necessities reduces traffic. When one has to drive miles for necessities, all those cars are on the roads for many miles. When reasonable density is built, low rise in this case, in the middle of a thriving retail area, one has to drive far less, actually reducing the number of cars on the road.

  5. The Indy Star announced today the appointment of a new Beverage Reporter! So instead of insightful reports on Indy pro sports and Indiana college teams, you now get to read stories about the 432nd new brewery open or some obscure Hoosier winery winning a county fair blue ribbon. Yep, that's the coverage we Star readers crave. Not.

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