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Monday, August 22, 2022

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

Local Landowners File Formal Opposition of Navigator Heartland Greenway’s Proposal to Construct Dangerous CO2 Pipeline

“We can’t sit idly by and let this private company destroy our farmland and endanger our lives” 

SPRINGFIELD, IL -- On Friday, August 19, Citizens Against Heartland Greenway Pipeline (CAHGP) filed a Petition for Leave to Intervene in the proceedings related to Navigator Heartland Greenway LLC’s petition to construct a dangerous CO2 pipeline through 13 Illinois counties. Members of the group, which was formed in order to formally oppose the pipeline, are all, to varying extents, impacted by the planned construction and operation of the CO2 pipeline. According to the 2011 Carbon Dioxide Transportation and Sequestration Act, the Illinois Commerce Commission must take local landowners’ concerns and objections about public safety, infrastructure, the economy, and property values into account before approving the permit and allowing the use of eminent domain. 

Many of CAHGP’s members own, use, and enjoy land that is currently designated as part of or in proximity to the primary routes of Navigator’s proposed CO2 pipeline and are deeply concerned the proposed pipeline will wreak havoc on farmland, put residents in danger, and decrease property values. The pipeline is set to transport high-pressure liquified CO2 across 240 miles of west- and east-central Illinois. CAHGP’s petition to intervene cites concerns about loss of farm income and farmland destruction. The pipeline will reduce farmers’ crop yields due to mixing of soils, compacted soils, and costs associated with repair to damaged infrastructure that will exceed the compensation offered by Navigator.

“No amount of money Navigator offers will return my land to its pre-pipeline state. Navigator wants to construct the Heartland Greenway Pipeline across slightly more than half a mile of our farm, through ground that is classified as highly erodible. The seven-foot-deep and 15-foot-wide trench they’ll need to dig for the pipeline will cut through three pasture fences, a permanent wetland area, a flowing stream in the pasture on my farm, and multiple erosion control terraces and drain tile,” said John Feltham, President of CAHGP and farmer in Knox County. “As a final insult, the pipeline will cut through a riser and tile in the southwest corner of one of our two most productive fields, which were put there to prevent water from ponding. Because of the damage the pipeline will cause to my farm, I am doing everything I can to prevent Navigator from constructing this pipeline.”

“My family has farmland both along the pipeline and in the proposed injection site for the Navigator CO2 project, and we are very concerned about what damages may occur to water sources and cropland if the CO2 doesn’t stay where it is when pumped beneath the capstone,” says Karen Brockelsby, Treasurer of CAHGP and landowner in Christian  County. “There are other instances in Illinois where natural gas has escaped back to the surface from under rock that was supposed to hold it in place. These areas have ongoing water and soil contamination with no real solutions available. Christian County has some of the best farmland in the world. Endangering that productivity is foolish and irresponsible. There will be no reparations available for what may happen years down the road.”

CAHGP’s petition to intervene cites significant public safety concerns due to the proposed pipeline’s proximity to incorporated communities, rural residential developments, businesses, and homes. The pipeline poses threats to human health and the environment, including the potential for loss of life from pipeline ruptures. This risk is exacerbated by the potential inability for first responders to adequately assist in the event of a rupture due to insufficient equipment, appropriate vehicles, and carbon dioxide alarm systems.  

“The proposed pipeline route is too close to housing areas, including villages and subdivisions, and does not protect human lives. CO2 pipelines are explosive and in the event of a rupture, high concentrations of CO2 can travel miles, asphyxiating everything in their path,” said Kathleen Campbell, Vice President of CAHGP and landowner in Sangamon County. “Yet, the proposed Navigator pipeline route travels less than a mile from multiple housing areas, sometimes within a few hundred feet. The current CO2 routing unnecessarily endangers our safety and our very lives.” 

Finally, CAHGP’s petition to intervene cites concerns about increased costs to CAHGP members and other landowners in the pipeline’s proposed path, including tax increases associated with construction, operation and preparedness for any failures of the carbon pipeline. Navigator CO2 Ventures, a private company funded by taxpayer benefits, stands to reap all of the profits from the pipeline at the expense of Illinois communities.   

“I strongly oppose the proposed construction of a hazardous CO2 pipeline through farmland and nearby communities. To build this pipeline, the words “eminent domain” are used as a threat. The profit goes to the private company and their investors, not the landowner of the property. If this private company is allowed to construct this pipeline, the door is open for more private companies to build pipelines on farmland across Illinois,” said Marilyn Shelley, Secretary of CAHGP and landowner in McDonough County. “I joined CAHGP to formally oppose the proposed pipeline because I can’t just sit silently and let this happen.”


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.

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