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CO2 pipeline from Iowa through Illinois is getting pushback from environmentalists

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(The Center Square) – The Illinois Commerce Commission is considering a proposal to allow a Canadian company to build a CO2 pipeline through the state.

Wolf Carbon Solutions, the Canadian energy infrastructure entity with U.S. operations headquartered in Denver, filed its application with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) June 16.

The pipeline would originate in Iowa, travel through the Quad Cities, then near Peoria, then on to Decatur. Archer Daniels Midland Company would serve as the pipeline’s “anchor customer” and be responsible for capturing CO2 emissions generated by its ethanol facilities in Iowa.

There has been some pushback from environmental groups, including from the Coalition to Stop CO2 Pipelines. Joyce Blumenshine, spokesperson for Sierra Club Illinois, said they are worried about safety because the proposed route runs close to homes and businesses in Peoria.

“For the public and people nearby, number one, and for the long term impacts to our prime farmland,“ Blumenshine told The Center Square. “We don’t have any idea what property value impacts might be.”

Blumenshine points to an incident in 2020 in Satartia, Mississippi, when a CO2 pipeline burst and sent dozens of residents to the hospital.

During a recent rally in Peoria, Jerry Briggs, a first responder at the Satartia incident, said it is important that all first responders, including law enforcement, understand the potential dangers of these pipelines

“First responders need recurring training, all communities affected by CO2 pipelines must have access to a mass notification system, and community members should be well informed. CO2 pipelines might be out of sight underground, but they can’t be out of mind,” Briggs said.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the legislature might get involved depending on the outcome with the ICC.

“I’m concerned that it will raise the prospect of safety challenges and raise the prospects of, as we’ve seen in other states, that if there is some sort of leak, that this could be a problem for all of Illinois,” Pritzker said.

Wolf Carbon Solutions reports in its application the project could generate an estimated $2.8 billion in economic impact across both Illinois and Iowa. A request for comment from the company was declined.

The ICC is also considering a petition from Nebraska-based Navigator CO2 Ventures to build 292 miles of the Heartland Greenway Pipeline System through Sangamon County in Illinois.

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