Sequestration of carbon may be on in 2011

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CORRECTION: Because of a reporter's error, an item about a proposed carbon sequestration plant in Wallula included incorrect information. The existing contract that expired was with the Department of Energy, not the Department of Ecology. The Department of Energy is reviewing a request for a contraction extension. Also, the carbon dioxide will not be from the Boise facility. A previous proposal for funding to study separation of carbon dioxide from Boise plant emissions did not receive approval. Instead, the project will inject food-grade gas, which will be brought in by railcar to the injection site.

Did it seem like plans for a proposed carbon sequestration project in the Wallula area all but vanished over the last year?

Officials on the project say their work has been delayed but are hopeful 2011 will be the year of injection.

An update from Geoff Harvey, media relations specialist for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory: The Big Sky Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership pilot test at Wallula is still in motion.

Harvey said via e-mail injection activities have been bumped into the 2011 calendar year because the existing contract with the Department of Ecology expired at the end of December. A contract extension to take the organization through injection, monitoring and closure of the project is in negotiations.

Ecology is in the process of reviewing the request, Harvey said. He said tough financial times have also "taken a bite" out of private contributions for the project. Negotiations are taking place with additional contributors, which could ultimately add to the project through new activities and capabilities.

"While we can't speculate on the length of the delay or cite a new injection date just yet, we're hoping to resolve our outstanding issues shortly and get back on track this spring," Harvey wrote in his email.

The carbon capture and storage project would inject flue gas from the Boise Inc. pulp and paper mill into the deep basalt, where scientists believe it would mineralize over time. The project is aimed at the reduction of carbon footprints.

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Inland Cellular is collecting unused cell phones to help connect troops with their families.

The telecommunications company has partnered with Cell Phones for Soldiers, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing prepaid calling cards to soldiers overseas.

Here's how it works: The donated cellphones are sent to ReCellular, an organization that pays Cell Phones for Soldiers for each phone. The money is used to buy prepaid calling cards that are sent to the troops. About half the phones processed by ReCellular are reconditioned and resold to wholesale companies in more than 40 countries. P

hones and components that cannot be refurbished are dismantled and recycled to reclaim materials, including gold, silver, platinum, coppers, nickel, cadmium, iron and lead, according to the announcement on the partnership.

Cell Phones for Soldiers was started by Massachusetts teens Robbie and Brittany Berquist with $21 of their own money. It has grown into an organization that has raised millions of dollars in donations.

Local residents can support the drive by donating phones at Inland Cellular's wireless studio in College Place, 1605 S.E. Meadowbrook Blvd.

Strictly Business is a local business column. Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at vickihillhouse@wwub.com or 526-8321.

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