FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Monday, January 23, 2023
Hannah Lee Flath, firstname.lastname@example.org, 860-634-0225
Lan Richart, email@example.com, 773-556-3417
Facing a Wave of Public Opposition
Navigator Temporarily Withdraws CO2 Pipeline Proposal
SPRINGFIELD, IL -- On Friday, January 20, Navigator Heartland Greenway LLC filed a motion with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) to voluntarily withdraw its Application for Certificate of Authority to construct a dangerous CO2 pipeline through 13 Illinois counties. In its initial application, Navigator failed to secure the easements required for a sequestration site, rendering their application incomplete. The application drew skepticism from leaders at the ICC and a tidal wave of concerns from farmers, landowners, and environmental advocates. Faced with mounting public opposition, Navigator withdrew their application, but noted they plan to re-file a new application next month and expand their project by adding another lateral route. Pipeline opponents assert that their concerns about public safety, the impact to farmland, and the impact to Illinois’ economy due to reduced property values remain and that they will continue to oppose the project.
“Navigator’s initial petition to the ICC was not just incomplete, it was nonsensical,” said Pam Richart, co-founder of the Coalition to Stop CO2 Pipelines and co-Director of the Eco-Justice Collaborative. “Without acquiring a sequestration site, there was no way to analyze the proposed route of the pipeline and its potential impact on farmers, landowners, and public safety. A senior staff member with the Illinois Commerce Commission recommended the Commission dismiss the project for that reason nearly two months ago.”
Following Navigator’s initial application in July 2022, Citizens Against Heartland Greenway Pipeline (CAHGP), the Illinois Farm Bureau, and Sangamon, Knox, McDonough, Christian, and Hancock Counties all filed motions to intervene. In December, CAHGP and County Intervenors filed a Memorandum arguing that Navigator’s petition should be dismissed at least 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 property values. PHMSA is conducting a rule-making process to improve safety and oversight of CO2 pipelines, which they hope to complete by October 2024. This rule-making process was initiated after PHMSA investigated the CO2 pipeline rupture that occurred near Satartia, Mississippi, where a plume of CO2 traveled 1.25 miles, required the evacuation of 200 people, and put 46 people, including first responders, in the hospital.
“Navigator is clearly scrambling to find a sequestration location for the proposed carbon dioxide pipeline,” said Sabrina Hamlin Jones, a landowner and organizer in Montgomery County. “Navigator has not been able to acquire property rights to its originally proposed sequestration area in Christian County because farmers, landowners, and environmental advocates have spent months talking to their neighbors and communities about the dangers of the CO2 pipeline and carbon sequestration—of which there are many. Navigator has now set their sights on Montgomery County, hoping we will accept their project. But we are organizing, too, and will continue to oppose Navigator’s project in order to protect our farmland, preserve our property rights, and keep residents and our land and water safe. We’re not going away until Navigator does.”
“My farm has been in my family for over 105 years, and no one is going to take our land without a fight,” says John Feltham, Illinois farmer and President of Citizens Against Heartland Greenway Pipeline. “We’ve managed to hold off Navigator’s attempt to construct this dangerous pipeline so far. In fact, Navigator has secured just 6 percent of the easements required from landowners along the route to construct the pipeline. Navigator will be coming back, and we urge landowners along the route to continue to refuse to negotiate and join Citizens Against Heartland Greenway Pipeline by visiting noillinoisco2pipelines.org. Joining CAHGP will provide the financial support we need to intervene with the Illinois Commerce Commission one more time, and help ensure this pipeline doesn’t jeopardize farms like mine and the health and safety of those who live along the proposed route.”
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.