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Landowners file opposition to carbon pipeline

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Courtesy Navigator Heartland Greenway
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The group Citizens Against Heartland Greenway Pipeline has filed its formal opposition to the carbon capture project with the Illinois Commerce Commission.

President John Feltham grows corn and soybeans on the Knox County farm that his family has owned for more than a century.

Feltham has concerns about possible property damage from the pipeline. He said people should not be fooled by the company’s name – Heartland Greenway.

“This is strictly a commercial venture. These people are not planning to build a 1,300 mile linear park with bike trails, picnic tables, and playground equipment for the kiddies,” he said.

“They’re here to make money and they’re now seeking eminent domain authority in Illinois to take land from any reluctant landowner that gets in their way.”

Feltham also has safety concerns. He pointed out the Three Mile Island reactor was built and operated by nuclear engineers, yet it failed. And he said no one has built and operated a carbon dioxide pipeline of this length.

“All human systems fail. And if a carbon dioxide pipeline fails and you happen to live too close to it, you can be overcome and killed in your sleep without ever waking up,” Feltham said.

Heartland Greenway has acknowledged the material can become an asphyxiant if it escapes from the pipeline. The company said it strives to work with local EMS crews to make sure they are well trained and well-equipped to handle an emergency.

The project calls for capturing carbon dioxide in five states, mostly from ethanol plants. It would then be pumped underground to a storage site in Christian County in central Illinois. It would go through western Illinois and southeastern Iowa.

Feltham said a pre-hearing conference is set for Thursday, September 1. He said that’s when the schedule for the ICC’s proceedings will be set.

Citizens Against Heartland Greenway Pipeline is a not-for-profit group formed so that pipeline opponents could pool their money to pay for legal services.

“The cost of legal proceedings at the Illinois Commerce Commission would be prohibitive for most individuals. So the only realistic way for people who own farmland, residential property, or who just live near the pipeline to reasonably be able to afford legal fees is to pool their money with others who are similarly situated,” Feltham said.

Feltham said membership is open to individuals, organizations, and units of local government.

A one-year membership is $500.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.