Saskatchewan

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin slams SaskPower carbon capture project

A United States senator who once met with Premier Brad Wall to talk about clean coal technology is calling SaskPower's carbon capture venture at Boundary Dam "a failed operation."

Boundary Dam 'a failed operation' West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin tells Fox News

Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia is calling SaskPower's carbon capture project at Boundary Dam "a failed operation." (YouTube )

A United States senator who once met with Premier Brad Wall to talk about clean coal technology is calling SaskPower's carbon capture venture at Boundary Dam "a failed operation." 

The New Democrats were raising the matter of Senator Joe Manchin's comments Monday in the Saskatchewan legislature.

They referred to a recent Fox News television interview in which the Democratic senator from West Virginia said the technology was supposed to capture 90 per cent of the power plant's CO2 emissions, but that isn't happening.

"Lo and behold, they're only capturing 45 per cent," said Manchin, who went on to call Boundary Dam "a failed operation in Canada."

Manchin is from the coal-mining state of West Virginia and has been highly critical of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's plan to reduce carbon emissions by 30 per cent by 2030.

He met with Premier Brad Wall to talk about coal on at least one occasion, according to a tweet from the Premier.

"Thx @Sen_JoeManchin for your leadership on CCS & clean coal. Told him about our clean coal technology at Boundary Dam," Wall said in the tweet.

The Saskatchewan legislature has been ringing with debate about the Boundary Dam project in this fall sitting.

The New Democrats say the Saskatchewan Party government has put all their climate change eggs in the carbon capture basket, but the technology has failed to live up to its promise.

The government and SaskPower officials have argued that the technology is brand new on this scale, so some startup problems are to be expected.

Saskatchewan minister 'concerned'

Bill Boyd is the minister responsible for SaskPower. (Brian Rodgers/CBC)

Bill Boyd, the minister responsible for SaskPower, said he is "very, very concerned" about the project.

"Our government is very concerned about the project," he said. "We're asking for updates regularly from SaskPower with respect to the project."

Boyd said he has directed SaskPower to make sure its promotional material about Boundary Dam is updated to "reflect the realities" of the situation. He said there are no trips planned in the near future to promote the project around the world.

"It is a project that's had a troubled past. There's no question about it. Our government has admitted that - maybe not as explicitly as we should have done at the outset of this project," Boyd said. "But I think this is still a good project for the people of Saskatchewan."

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