May 2009 – AggBeat
New science gauges potential to store CO2
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is conducting research on a number of fronts related to carbon sequestration, or the storage of carbon dioxide (CO2), in order to lessen the impacts of climate change. Efforts include evaluation of potential biological sequestration in a variety of ecosystems, potential release of greenhouse gasses from Arctic soils and permafrost, mapping the distribution of ultramafic rocks for potential mineral sequestration efforts, and the possible role of gas hydrates in carbon sequestration.
According to a press release from the USGS, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar praised a USGS report touting one new method – the injection of liquid CO2 into rocks below the earth’s surface. The new methodology identifies a means to assess the volume of pore space in subsurface rocks that is able to store CO2 for tens of thousands of years.
As a senator, Salazar authored the provision of the Energy Independence and Security Act that directed USGS to develop the methodology. “Rather than emitting carbon into the air, our nation can and should move toward capturing carbon emissions and storing them underground,” Salazar said in an energy teleconference, according to the press release. “The report will help us find the best places in the country for this type of carbon sequestration. The development of this assessment methodology marks a critical first step in our understanding of how much carbon dioxide can be stored in the subsurface.”
The method allows for an assessment that can characterize the storage potential in two types of storage units – saline formations and oil and gas reservoirs – and is dependent on building geologic models of the areas to be assessed. The method focuses on the technically accessible resource, which is the geologic resource that may be available and sequestered using present-day geological and engineering knowledge and technology.
Stimulus-generated transportation projects surpass 2,000
On April 13, President Obama and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood commemorated the 2,000th transportation infrastructure project funded from the $48.1 billion allocated for infrastructure under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). More than 60 percent of the obligations required within 120 days of the signing of the ARRA on Feb. 17 had been made within the first two months.
According to the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association’s (NSSGA) eDigest & Washington Watch, President Obama said, “I am proud to utter the two rarest phrases in the English language – projects are being approved ahead of schedule, and they are coming in under budget.”
The 2,000th project is a $68-million interchange widening project on Interstate 94 in Portage, Mich.
To track the allocation of stimulus dollars, go to www.recovery.gov.
EPA issues revised opacity rule
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a revised opacity rule last month, according to the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association’s (NSSGA) eDigest & Washington Watch. The New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) Subpart OOO is the visible emission, or opacity, standard for non-metallic mineral processing plants, which includes aggregates. The rule limits how much visible dust is allowed to be emitted into the air from crushers, screens, and conveyor transfer points.
In response to a lawsuit filed last year by the Sierra Club against the EPA, the NSSGA negotiated a final rule that would lessen the administrative burden on the aggregates industry. The NSSGA plans to issue a summary of the final rule and host several Webinars demonstrating the changes to the rule and how it affects individual operations.
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