Controversial carbon dioxide.
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Controversial carbon dioxide.

Date: March 10, 2009
By: Christine Slusser
State Capitol Bureau
Links: SB 391

Intro: An issue sparked by the City Utilities of Springfield, MO lead to a discussion on Tuesday by the state's Senators of the possibility of pumping carbon dioxide into the ground, some witnesses saying it could kill many people.

Christine Slusser has more from the State Capitol.

RunTime:1:52
OutCue: SOC

A bill that would limit liability in personal injury cases or death to those pumping carbon dioxide into the ground was heard by Missouri Senate Commerce Consumer Protection Committee.

The issue arose due to Springfield's City Utilities wanting to pump their CO2 into Missouri's soil. 

Columbia Senator, Kurt Schaefer debated with fellow Republican, Jackson County's Matt Bartle who questioned certain parts of the bill that would not limit liability to environmental or property damages.

Actuality:  SCHBART2.WAV
Run Time: 00:13
Description: "Schaefer: While there's certain unknowns, it is also understood that this is generally not a dangerous activity. Everything we do involves danger, the Callaway Nuclear Plant could melt down, you know, tomorrow...

Bartle: If this is not a dangerous activity, then why do we need the cap?"

Schaefer says the cap is necessary because the lack of liability will take the fear out of people trying to use new technology to help the environment.

Democratic Senator from St. Louis County, Joan Bray questioned engineer and geologist Gary Pendergrass about the likelihood of the bill being killed.

Actuality:  BRAYKIND.WAV
Run Time: 00:10
Description:"Bray: You're saying it really won't move forward unless we give this liability limitation?

Pendergrass: I think it would be very slow to move forward. I  haven't seen anyone else step forward to do it."


Pendergrass said eliminating CO2 pollution is very difficult and sequestration (SEE-QUES-TRATION), or pumping it below the Earth's surface, is the best option.

Attorney Kenneth Vuylsteke (VOL-STEKK) scrutinized the bill saying pumping CO2 below the ground could be fatal.

Actuality:  KENNY2.WAV
Run Time: 00:10
Description: "If it is released in a concentrated amount in 10-17% of air, for example, say it gets into an enclosed building, it could cause injury and death."

Vuylsteke (VOL-STEKK) does not support the bill because the caps, or liabilities, would not allow an individual to sue for more than $300,000 if death or injury occurred due to the CO2 below the ground.

These are the environmental issues, now for the legal issues with Elizabeth Billingsley.

 


Intro: A debate was sparked in Missouri's Senate over a bill which would allow Springfield's City Utilities to be one of nation's first carbon dioxide dumping grounds, without liability.

Christine Slusser has more from the State Capitol. 

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OutCue: SOC

Missouri lawmakers were urged Tuesday to prevent legal liability for those who wnat to pump carbon dioxide into Missouri's soil.

The issue was triggered by the City Utilities in Springfield, Missouri who want to begin pumping CO2 into the ground.

Geologist and engineer Gary Pendergrass says there are few other options for ridding the atmosphere of CO2.

Actuality:  KIND3.WAV
Run Time: 00:13
Description: "The alternatives to on-site carbon sequestration are either to transport our carbon dioxide to other states and pay those states for sequestration or to pay carbon taxes."

Another witness at the hearing, attorney Kenneth Vuylsteke (VOL-STEKK) says if the CO2 pumped underground leaked into a building, it could cause serious injury or even death.

From Jefferson City, I'm Christine Slusser.