FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 20, 2023
Despite Limited State and Federal Regulation, Second Company Seeks Approval to Build Hazardous CO2 Pipeline Through Illinois
SPRINGFIELD, IL -- On Friday, June 16, Wolf Carbon Solutions US LLC became the second private company to file a petition with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) to construct a carbon dioxide (CO2) pipeline across Illinois. Wolf’s petition comes despite a serious lack of state and federal regulations related to the capture, transportation, and storage of carbon dioxide. Landowners, farmers, county governments, environmental groups, and residents in Peoria’s urban environmental justice community oppose the project, which they say poses significant environmental justice, safety, and property concerns.
The controversial 260-mile pipeline, dubbed the Mt. Simon Hub, would transport high-pressure liquified CO2 from ethanol plants in Iowa and Illinois across nine counties and inject the CO2 underground in Macon County, Illinois. Despite only having safely sequestered about 3.5 million metric tons of CO2 at their “first-of-a-kind commercial CCS site” over the past decade, ADM posits that this pipeline project will store up to 12 million metric tons of CO2 annually. A spur line that would run through Peoria’s southside was not included in Wolf’s application filed Friday. However, the company stated at a June 14 Peoria Park District Board of Trustees meeting that they could file a revision to their map and plans at any time.
“ADM/Wolf appears to be doing everything possible to fast track this project—from suddenly taking the controversial spur through Peoria’s Southside off the map ‘for now,’ to publicly promising to meet yet-to-be-drafted federal CO2 pipeline safety regulations,” said Tracy Fox of the Central Illinois Healthy Community Alliance (CIHCA) and the Coalition to Stop CO2 Pipelines. “CIHCA urges everyone to slow down. We are heartened that the Peoria Park District voted unanimously for a moratorium on pipelines, and need all cities, counties, and other units of government to enact similar resolutions. Until state and federal regulations are in place to protect everyone—from urban and rural homeowners and landowners, to emergency personnel, to residents of Peoria’s urban environmental justice community—we cannot let our guard down.”
According to the 2011 Carbon Transportation and Sequestration Act, the Illinois Commerce Commission must take local government’s concerns and objections about public safety, infrastructure, the economy, and property values into account before approving the permit and allowing the use of eminent domain. While approval of the project rests with the Illinois Commerce Commission in what could be a nearly year-long process, local residents say Wolf Carbon Solutions has made very few details about the project available and only began sharing information with the general public fairly recently.
“We believe that a project with the potential for such significant impacts should be vetted with the public through an extensive public engagement process,” said Joyce Blumenshine of the Heart of Illinois Group of Sierra Club Illinois. “It’s frighteningly clear that Wolf Carbon Solutions is hoping for swift approval of its pipeline project, despite the fact that most people are not even aware of it or how it might affect them. The people, land, and water resources of Illinois should not be at the disposal of CO2 corporations for their own financial gain. Our state and federal regulations are woefully inadequate for what is being planned and the ICC must deny Wolf’s application until critical regulations are in place.”
The Coalition to Stop CO2 Pipelines is working with landowners, residents, and community groups who live along the pipeline’s proposed path to help them organize in opposition to the project.
Coalition to Stop CO2 Pipelines
The Coalition to Stop CO2 Pipelines is a growing coalition of Illinois environmental groups, landowners, and residents concerned about the environmental, economic, and the unprecedented safety hazards associated with building a network of CO2 pipelines across the state. The coalition believes the mad rush to build these pipelines as part of the technology called carbon capture and sequestration is dangerous and a false solution that will keep Illinois reliant on fossil fuels.
NOTE: EJC is lead organizer for this Coalition