Less than two weeks after withdrawing an application in front of the Illinois Commerce Commission, today, Navigator Heartland Greenway LLC announced that they are canceling the pipeline project that would have transported high-pressure liquified carbon dioxide through 14 Illinois counties before being injected underground. The news comes after regulatory rejections in Iowa and South Dakota.
In response, Pam Richart, co-founder of the Coalition to Stop CO2 Pipelines, said, "The cancellation of Navigator’s CO2 pipeline project highlights Navigator’s failure to adequately address the widespread concerns from farmers, landowners, environmental advocates, and elected officials from both sides of the aisle regarding basic protections for communities, land, and water resources. Navigator’s inability to secure enough public support for the pipeline sends a clear message that stronger protections are needed at both the state and federal levels. Although Navigator’s announcement gives Illinois lawmakers and Governor Pritzker some breathing room to get critical protections in place for Illinois communities, there is still urgency to act swiftly. Wolf Carbon Solutions’ proposal to build a CO2 pipeline through 9 Illinois counties is still on the table, and other companies continue to see Illinois as a primary target to dump their carbon dioxide waste underground. Illinois remains woefully unprepared and unprotected from CCS projects and our state must act accordingly.”
This week, Navigator CO2 announced the company had withdrawn its carbon dioxide pipeline permit application in front of the Illinois Commerce Commission. The action is a direct result of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, which rejected Navigator CO2’s application for a permit to construct the Heartland Greenway carbon capture pipeline. Politicians, local governments, and constituents across Central Illinois have expressed concerns over eminent domain overreach and carbon sequestration in Illinois.
"Since day one, Citizens Against Heartland Greenway Pipeline and countless farmers, landowners, and community members across the state have urged the Illinois Commerce Commission to dismiss Navigator’s petition until PHMSA updates its CO2 regulations, Navigator acquires property rights for its carbon sequestration area, and Navigator provides sufficient information regarding the route and its impact on human lives. None of those asks have yet come to fruition,” said Kathy Campbell, Vice-President of CAHGP. "Meanwhile, Navigator has circumvented the Illinois Commerce Commission's regulatory process, which should take a maximum of eleven months, by withdrawing and re-submitting their application multiple times. They’re not only giving themselves more time to flesh out the critical details of their project, they’re also dragging out the stress and financial strain on landowners who have to keep fighting this project. Enough is enough.”
Navigator CO2 is based out of Omaha, Nebraska, and is behind Heartland Greenway which is a carbon capture and storage project. Their vision is to build a carbon ecosystem through the transportation, liquefying, and storage of carbon to minimize emissions.
“Many landowners do not want any form of government allowing construction of CO2 pipelines through their farmland,” said State Rep. Wayne Rosenthal. “This company wants to transport carbon dioxide in a high-pressure liquid form from five states and store it underground in Illinois.”
Many have expressed concern over safety. In early 2020, a town in Mississippi fell victim to a carbon dioxide pipeline rupture. Over 200 people were evacuated from the town, and at least 45 people were hospitalized.
"While stakeholders work toward state regulations and while PHMSA completes its rule-making process, Illinois must pass a temporary moratorium on CO2 pipelines so that protections are in place before Navigator can move forward with their project,” said Pam Richart, Co-Director of Eco-Justice Collaborative and co-founder of the Coalition to Stop CO2 Pipelines. "Navigator’s motion to withdraw its petition delays the regulatory process, but doesn’t diminish the urgency for Illinois lawmakers and Governor Pritzker to enact state legislation at every step of the CCS industrial cycle—at the capture facility, through pipelines, and at the sequestration site.”