A reality based independent journal of observation & analysis, serving the Flathead Valley & Montana since 2006. © James Conner.

5 August 2017 — 19535 mdt

Rosendale’s Carbon2018 strategy

Matt Rosendale, reports the Gazette’s Tom Lutey, believes his path to the U.S. Senate runs through Colstrip, which he would liberate from expensive state and federal regulations, and produce electrical power, and profits, for decades through the application of “clean coal” technology:

On Colstrip, Rosendale favors the development of clean coal technology to deal with the carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants. The U.S. Department of Energy last year, at the request of Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock, estimated that it would cost $1.2 billion or more to retrofit Colstrip power plant with technology capable of capturing carbon dioxide, which would then be sold to petroleum companies interested in pumping the pollution into old wells to release stubborn oil reserves.

However, there is no functional production-scale carbon-capture technology available now and Colstrip faces deadlines for at least partial closure. Colstrip Units 1 and 2 are to close in the next six years under terms agreed to by Talen Energy and Puget Sound Energy to settle a pollution lawsuit. Two Oregon utilities with ownership shares in Colstrip Units 3 and 4, are obligated by law to begin phasing out coal power from the energy delivered to Oregon customers within the next 13 years. [Highlighting added.]

“Clean coal” is a lie, a political slogan, not a viable technology. . Even if the CO2 is captured completely, an impossibility, and no particulates, or sulfides, or other unhealthy compounds, are released into the atmosphere, strip mines will still wreck the land.

Moreover, if the recovered CO2 then pushes liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons out of the ground somewhere else and into combustion engines and turbines, greenhouse gases will be released; for there is no technology for sequestering the CO2 generated by motor vehicles and airplanes. What Rosendale proposes amounts to moving the pollution next door, not preventing its release.

Colstrip’s voters deserve better than this. They know their world is changing, that natural gas, solar, and wind, are displacing coal, and that the future will not be found in their rear view mirrors. They’re caught between a past to which they cannot return, and a future for which they’re poorly prepared. Like Trump, Rosendale’s campaigning on false hope, promising he’ll make the future like the past. It’s a cynical promise he can’t keep, a politician’s promise no one should believe.