• Slider Image

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Hannah Lee Flath, hannahlee.flath@sierraclub.org, 860-634-0225
Lan Richart, coalition@noillinoisco2pipelines.org, 217-607-1948

Local Landowners and Advocates Respond After Infamous Oil Company Files Petition to Construct Dangerous CO2 Pipeline through 13 Illinois Counties

SPRINGFIELD, IL -- Yesterday, Navigator Heartland Greenway LLC filed a petition with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) to construct a dangerous CO2 pipeline through 13 Illinois counties despite overwhelming opposition from landowners, local governments, and agricultural and environmental advocates across Illinois. The Coalition to Stop CO2 Pipelines, united with local farmers and landowners, calls on the ICC to deny the petition due to the significant threat the proposed pipeline poses to landowners and the local environment.

On Monday, Navigator Heartland Greenway, a subsidiary of the Texas-based oil pipeline development company Navigator CO2 Ventures LLC, petitioned the ICC for a Certificate of Authority to construct and operate the Illinois portions of a 1,300-mile carbon dioxide pipeline. The proposed pipeline will transport high-pressure liquified CO2 from industrial facilities via an underground pipeline through South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, and 240 miles of Illinois before injecting the CO2 underground in Christian County, Illinois. Navigator’s petition application also seeks permission to “take and acquire easements and interests in private property” through eminent domain if landowners refuse to voluntarily sign easements.

John Feltham's Knox County, IL, farm. According to its plans, Navigator wants to build a CO2 pipeline across the high ground to the right, then down the slope into the Spoon River bottom. Pipeline construction will damage trees, fences, a stream in the pasture, erosion control terraces, drain tile, and the grass waterway in the foreground. Two parallel drain tiles run underneath the waterway.

According to the 2011 Carbon Dioxide Transportation and Sequestration Act, the Illinois Commerce Commission must take local landowners’ concerns about public safety, infrastructure, the economy, and property values into account before approving the permit and allowing the use of eminent domain. Local landowners’ concerns are well documented. Local landowners, governments, and agricultural and environmental advocates along the pipeline’s planned route have raised concerns that the pipeline will wreak havoc on farmland, put residents in grave danger, impose significant costs on local units of government, and is a false solution to Illinois’ energy needs. Navigator CO2 Ventures LLC, a private company funded by taxpayer benefits, stands to reap all of the profits from the pipeline at the expense of Illinois communities.

In response, local landowners and members of the Coalition to Stop CO2 Pipelines released the following statement: 

"My farm has been in my family for over 100 years. It is not only my livelihood, but also an example of a small, but critical, part of Illinois' agricultural economy," says John Feltham, a retired Marine and Knox County farmer, who received a notification letter last December advising him that a new CO2 pipeline was planned across his farmland. "I refused to sign a voluntary easement when Navigator approached me or allow pipeline surveyors on my farm. The proposed pipeline would permanently damage my land and erosion control systems, endanger my home and livelihood, and adversely impact Illinois agriculture. The meager amount Navigator offered for an easement is wholly inadequate to compensate for the destructive impact of its plan. Farmland covers 75% of Illinois. By crossing hundreds of family farms in 13 Illinois counties, Navigator's pipeline would chip away at the viability of every farm it crosses in each of those counties."

“In 2020, a CO2 pipeline ruptured near Satartia, Mississippi, creating a 40-foot deep crater and releasing CO2 for over 3.5 hours. The CO2 plume traveled over a mile and left residents in the small town convulsing, confused, and unconscious. Now that Navigator has petitioned the ICC to construct a similar pipeline in Illinois, I have to wonder—will my community be next?” questions Kathy Campbell, a Glenarm landowner that lives along the proposed pipeline’s path. “Navigator’s CO2 pipeline would be constructed less than a mile from 275 homes in Glenarm, and just 1,000 feet from my house. It’s even closer to some of my neighbors’ homes. We would suffer devastating consequences if the pipeline ruptures. CO2 is an asphyxiant, and if concentrations are high enough, it can kill within minutes. Our cars won’t run, since CO2 displaces oxygen. How would we escape? How will our emergency responders be able to help us if their engines fail due to CO2 gas exposure, too?”

Aerial photo of February 2020 CO2 pipeline rupture near Satartia, Mississippi. Courtesy of Yazoo Emergency Management Agency.

“This proposed pipeline is a false solution to the climate crisis we’re facing today, and puts unnecessary pressure on local landowners and farmers to turn over their land and livelihood to a fossil fuel company,” says Ann Baskerville, Sierra Club Illinois organizer and member of the Coalition to Stop CO2 Pipelines. “CO2 pipelines are dangerous, disrupt local agricultural economies, and undermine the significant climate progress Illinois has made by extending the life of fossil fuels. Federal funding should focus on the acceleration of real climate solutions like the implementation of natural climate solutions and renewable energy projects.”


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.

Leave a Reply