By ANGIE FORD/Montana State News

The Big Sky Carbon Sequestration Project held its annual meeting last weekend in Great Falls, drawing big names from around the world to talk about the future of carbon sequestration, particularly here in Montana.

“The point is to focus the attention of the national movement here on this local project, just like next week’s national conference is to focus the members of the many local projects on the national issues. We want to create a shared knowledge base,” said Kathryn Watson, BSCSP’s outreach and communications director.

“The really neat thing about that is that Shelby, Montana [site of BSCSP’s Kevin Dome storage project] gets on the map, and the community benefits, ” said Watson.

Attending the conference were representatives of interested entities from across the U.S. and Canada. Twenty states were represented, as well as two Canadian provinces.

Representing the national level of interest, Department of Energy project manager William Aljoe gave an overview of the DOE Carbon Storage R&D Program. Speaking about Oregon’s biofuel initiatives was Portland General Electric’s Director, Wayne Lei.

On hand were scientists from a variety of specialties—a PI scientist from Lawrence Berkley National Lab who spoke about geologic modeling and flow, a geophysicist from Seismic Acquisition Services who presented on seismic surveying, and the president of Altamont Oil and Gas Inc. Patrick Montalban.

While the speaker list reads like a who’s who of the balanced energy future, Watson says a large part of BSCSP’s focus for the annual meeting is the people of the community.

“One of the purposes of the annual meeting is so national industry leaders can get a feel for the kind of community we are working in,” Watson said, adding that, even more important, is that the annual meeting serves as an access point for the community—they can ask questions and voice concerns to anyone, from  the director of BSCSP Lee Spangler, to the contractors who work with seismic monitoring, to the project manager from the Department of Energy.

“We care enormously about the feelings of the community where our project is located. We aren’t here to make money, we’re here for education, and we are reliant upon the community members’ support. This is their home, and we want the project to benefit them.”

Even the choice of the location for the annual meeting was based upon ease of access for community members of the Kevin Dome storage project, located an hour and a half away, near Shelby, Montana.

For more information, you can visit BSCSP’s website at: http://www.bigskyco2.org/

Edited by Matt York.

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