UNIVERSAL, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– Representatives for Wabash Valley Resources met with dozens of community members Wednesday to discuss the details of proposed carbon wells in Vigo and Vermillion Counties.
The meeting came as residents continued to raise concerns on the project following a meeting held by the Environmental Protection Agency this past Thursday, and it was the first chance to hear directly from executive members at the organization.
Greg Zoeller, the Vice President for External Affairs, offered more details on what they will produce– and how the carbon will be stored.
“It’s going to be manufacturing fertilizer, so this is a low-carbon, intensive fertilizer that will be used mostly on corn and wheat crops, so here in the midwest,” he said. “The unique part is, instead of having a smokestack, we’ll be injecting carbon dioxide well below the bedrock. That’s kind of unique.”
The carbon will be injected about 4,500 feet underground, according to Zoeller. He pointed to a plant in Decatur, Illinois that uses similar technology, albeit at a lesser volume, to lessen worries about the process. While company officials, including owner Nalin Gupta, focused on potential benefits, the community was still vocal about their concerns.
Clate Sanquenetti helped start a Facebook group, “Concerned Residents against Wabash Valley Resources,” which now has over 600 members. Many who spoke Wednesday had fears about transparency, potential loss of property value and the long-term impact of the project. Sanquenetti said while there was some good information shared Wednesday, he still thinks many questions need to be answered.
“Some of the things posted [in the group] that I’ve seen tonight have actually been kind of debunked by Wabash Valley Resources, so they were good on helping a lot of questions,” he said. “I feel that the community is kind of felt upset because of the lack of communication, and that there’s going to have to be a lot of work for this to happen, and I know there’s a lot of people against it.”
Zoeller said the company was committed to continuing to answer questions to quell concerns.
“Anything that’s new, that’s coming and they don’t understand, I think there’s going to be some questions asked but we’re going to be here for the long haul,” he said. “This is a long-term project with a lot of jobs and a lot of economic development.”
Wabash Valley Resources would support the EPA extending the public comment window for more time, echoing sentiments from State Representative Tonya Pfaff to do so. The current deadline is next Monday, August 21st.
“They did extend it 10 days and we support extending it another 60 if that’s what the EPA decides to do,” Zoeller said.
The next public meeting is currently scheduled to take place at Fayette Elementary School next Tuesday, August 22nd.