FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 18, 2023
Nearly 500 Concerned Community Members Show up to Springfield Public Forum
in Opposition to Navigator’s Proposed Pipeline
Local residents urged the Sangamon County Board to prioritize residents’ lives and safety over business concerns
SPRINGFIELD, IL. -- Last night, nearly 500 people packed the Bank of Springfield Convention Center to voice their opposition to Navigator Heartland Greenway’s proposed CO2 pipeline. As the Springfield County Board considers two Project Development Agreements (PDAs) from Navigator, opponents from across Sangamon County urged the Board to not only deny those agreements, but take a strong stand against Navigator in order to protect local citizens, land, and water.
Navigator has proposed two PDAs to the Sangamon County Board—the first offers Sangamon County $20,000 per year per mile of pipeline constructed for no more than 30 years, and the second offers the county $200,000 for each operating well, but not more than $800,000 in payments per year. The agreements amount to a potential $47,400,000 in fees. Both agreements require the county to “cooperate with developers on a good-faith basis” and provide “positive assistance” as necessary during the construction of the project. Navigator reserves the right to terminate the contracts if it determines that the county does not meet their terms.
“How exactly does Navigator Heartland Greenway define ‘positive assistance’, and how can we be sure Navigator won’t demand that we go to the ends of the earth to support their dangerous goals?” said Kathy Campbell, a Sangamon County landowner and member of the Coalition to Stop CO2 Pipelines. “If Navigator deems the county as having not met their requirements, they can break the contract, and Sangamon County will be left with no compensation, and our lives, property rights, and farmland will still be on the line. I implore the Sangamon County Board to prioritize our neighbors over profits that are not promised.”
The Coalition to Stop CO2 Pipelines and local community members have been organizing and educating the public, townships, community leaders, and the Board in Sangamon County about the dangers of CO2 pipelines for over a year. Last night’s Public Forum was the first time Navigator went head to head against opponents of the project. The event featured a 30-minute presentation from Navigator Heartland Greenway, a 30-minute presentation from representatives of the Coalition to Stop CO2 Pipelines, comments from members of the Sangamon County Board, and dozens of questions and comments from concerned citizens, including JD Sudeth., President of the Sangamon County Farm Bureau, which formally opposes the project.
Many of the comments and questions posed by Sangamon County community members focused on public safety and a lack of regulations on CO2 pipelines on both federal and state levels. Navigator is attempting to push the proposed project forward before the federal Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) completes its rulemaking process, which will include new safety measures and improved oversight. Illinois Commerce Commission staff member and case manager Mark Maples recently recommended denying Navigator’s application for a certificate of authority, noting it is “sensible and necessary” to pause the project “until PHMSA completes its new rulemaking process.” In addition, the Illinois General Assembly is actively considering HB3119—legislation that protects Illinois landowners and taxpayers, our drinking water, public health, and the climate from the growing threat of CCS projects.
“The lives and safety of Illinois residents must come before business concerns. Last night, Sangamon County residents made it abundantly clear—we don’t want this pipeline running through our backyards, regardless of how much money Navigator attempts to throw at us,” said Nick Dodson, Springfield resident and Chair of the Sangamon Valley Group of Sierra Club Illinois. “Navigator shouldn’t put a price on our lives, nor should they make promises about public safety they can’t keep. It’s time for the Sangamon County Board to kick Navigator to the curb, once and for all.”
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.