Opposing sides of proposed CO2 pipeline project through Illinois sound off

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(The Center Square) – Now that the company that planned to construct a CO2 pipeline through Illinois has thrown in the towel, many are wondering what is the next step.

Navigator Heartland Greenway had planned to build a 1,300-mile pipeline through five states that would have gathered carbon dioxide emissions from ethanol plants. The pipeline would have carried the emissions in compressed liquid form from more than 20 plants across central Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota for permanent storage deep underground in Illinois.

Joe Heinrich, executive director of the group Smart Carbon Network, said this is a missed opportunity to open up markets for sustainable fuel options for ethanol producers.

“It is a defining issue for the Midwest because how we are going to look 10 years from now is going to be determined by how and what we do with carbon capture,” Heinrich said.

Navigator earlier this month withdrew its application to the Illinois Commerce Commission for a permit in Illinois, and also said it was putting all of its permit applications on hold.

Pam Richart, co-founder of the Coalition to Stop CO2 Pipelines, said there are too many unknowns with a pipeline of this magnitude.

“It is transporting an asphyxiant and that’s a concern when the pipeline is not built according to federal standards because there aren’t any,” Richart said.

Richart’s group continues to push for a state moratorium on carbon dioxide pipelines, though such legislation is unlikely to advance this year.

When announcing the cancellation, Navigator released a statement.

“The development of Navigator CO2’s pipeline project has been challenging. Given the unpredictable nature of the regulatory and government processes involved, particularly in South Dakota and Iowa, the Company has decided to cancel its pipeline project,” the statement said.

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