Advocates Elevate Concerns Over Navigator CO2 Ventures’ Proposal to Transport High-Pressure, Liquified CO2 Through 13 Illinois Counties
Local residents say the proposed CO2 pipeline would endanger communities, landowners, and farmland.
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SPRINGFIELD - The Coalition to Stop CO2 Pipelines is raising concerns about a proposed CO2 pipeline that would transport high-pressure, liquified CO2 from industry clients across South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Iowa to a location in Christian County, Illinois.
The proposed pipeline will pass through 13 Illinois counties, including Hancock, Adams, McDonough, Henry, Knox, Fulton, Schuyler, Brown, Pike, Scott, Morgan, Sangamon, and Christian. The 1,300-mile-long CO2 pipeline is among the first of many expected to be proposed across the Midwest as part of a developing technology called carbon capture and storage (CCS).
The arguments of the Coalition to Stop CO2 Pipelines are as follows:
"This technology’s ability to reduce harmful emissions is not yet proven, and the construction and use of these pipelines raises serious safety and property value concerns for landowners and farmers that reside along the pipeline’s path.
"The pipeline is a private, 1,300-mile-long project that is not viable without significant taxpayer dollars, and yet, if the project is constructed, landowners will bear the brunt of the long-term costs and impacts while Navigator CO2 Ventures investors profit.
"In order to transport the captured carbon via pipeline, it must be liquified at three times the pressure of methane gas. These pipelines can and do rupture, causing an explosive plume of colorless and odorless CO2 gas to emerge. CO2 is an asphyxiant, and exposure to high concentrations of CO2 can lead to increased respiratory rate, tachycardia, cardiac arrhythmias, and impaired consciousness. Exposure to concentrations of CO2 greater than 10% may cause convulsions, coma, and death. In addition, CO2 gas can prevent gasoline-powered vehicles with internal combustion engines like ambulances to not be able to start, making it difficult or impossible to provide those affected with an escape to safety.
“Constructing a 24-inch diameter pipeline of liquified CO2 less than 100 feet from homes in my Wayside Meadows subdivision and through the town of Glenarm is contrary to my right as an American to feel safe and secure in my own home,” says Kathy Campbell, a landowner that resides along the proposed pipeline’s path. “In 2020, a CO2 pipeline ruptured half a mile away from the small town of Satartia, Mississippi, and all forty-nine residents were hospitalized from exposure to the CO2. The proposed Navigator CO2 Pipeline would be constructed even closer to our homes in Glenarm, and we would suffer devastating consequences if the pipeline ruptures. It feels like Navigator CO2 Ventures wants to construct a 1,300-mile-long colorless, odorless bomb alongside our houses and underneath our communities.”
"The proposed pipeline also poses risks to farmers. A 2021 Iowa State University study found that construction activities caused extensive soil disturbance that had adverse effects on soil’s physical properties, often caused by mixing topsoil with backfill brought in for filling pipeline trenches and soil compaction from heavy machinery. These impacts can inhibit root growth and reduce water infiltration in the right-of-way. The research team at Iowa State University found that, “Crop yields in the right-of-way were reduced by an average of 25% for soybeans and 15% for corn during the first and second crop seasons, compared to undisturbed fields.” Navigator CO2 Ventures will take landowners’ land for private use, enforcing eminent domain if necessary. Although Navigator offers compensation for agricultural productivity losses, experience with other pipelines indicates that some damage may be permanent.
“I am worried that the pipeline could permanently ruin my land,” says John Feltham, a farmer in Knox County who received a notification letter that a new CO2 pipeline was planned across his farmland. “I am a fourth-generation farmer that has had this land in my family for over 100 years. No matter how good the restoration process is after the pipeline’s construction, the soil is never the same, and tiles, once broken, are never the same.”
"Soon, representatives from Navigator CO2 Ventures will approach landowners in the path of the proposed pipeline to request a voluntary easement, which will give Navigator CO2 Ventures the right to use the land without possessing it. Advocates with the Coalition to Stop CO2 Pipelines are urging landowners along the proposed path to not sign a voluntary easement at this time, as doing so will waive future rights.
"Despite very little public education on the proposed pipeline, representatives from Navigator CO2 Ventures will soon approach landowners in the path of the proposed pipeline to request a voluntary easement for their property," says attorney and consultant Paul Blackburn. "Landowners are not required to sign these voluntary easement agreements, and should know that if they do so, they are waiving their rights for the future. Landowners deserve to know the risks that are associated with the proposed CO2 pipeline before making decisions about their property."
About the 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.