Indiana could soon be a world leader in the dispensing of carbon dioxide produced by burning coal, a resource Gov. Mitch Daniels said will be vital to the future of the state.

The inaugural summit to discuss the plan to bury carbon dioxide produced at the new Duke Energy power plant in Edwardsport, Ind., could set the trend for the future of burning coal in an environmentally friendly way.

"For as long as we can see, we must have a significant part of our energy supply from coal. It does not go too far in my opinion to say no coal no country. No country as we have known it. No standard of living as we seek to leave it to our children," Daniels said.

Plans for the new $2 billion plant include burying the carbon dioxide several thousand feet under ground. Geological experts estimate North America has enough room underground to safely store nearly 4 trillion tons of carbon dioxide for centuries.

Daniels, along with Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers, told a crowd Wednesday Indiana is in a position to set an example for the world by aggressively pursuing this disposal plan and continuing to safely and efficiently produce cheap power from coal.

The plant will be completed in 2012. It's estimated the new plant will result in rate increases of nearly 20 percent for Duke customers in that area.

Environmental critics say the plan to bury the gas is financially irresponsible and unproven to be safe. Critics also have said the plant was not needed.