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CO2 pipeline opponents: ‘The clock is ticking’

Sept 2022-01.jpg
Rich Egger
Audience members, including Bill Jacobs (in the striped shirt) listened intently during the presentation. "We need our elected officials to provide our voices in Springfield," Jacobs said.

Navigator Heartland Greenway filed its petition with the Illinois Commerce Commission in late July to build a CO2 pipeline through parts of the state. Opponents said there is no time to waste in fighting the project.

“The clock is ticking on getting counties ready to intervene and intervening in the process. That really needs to happen now,” said Pam Richart of the Eco-Justice Collaborative, which is part of the Coalition to Stop CO2 Pipelines.

“If counties want to get their objections heard and get meaningful testimony entered into the record, they need to be doing sooner than later because at a certain point we’ll be beyond that in the (ICC) schedule.”

The organizations were involved in a gathering that filled the meeting rooms at the Spoon River College Community Outreach Center in Macomb.

Navigator is seeking permission to build and operate the CO2 pipeline in Illinois and to use eminent domain, if necessary, to acquire the property for the project.

Richart called CO2 pipelines and sequestration “a false solution to climate change” because she feels it is unproven technology that will help keep the fossil fuel industry alive for decades to come.

She hoped people came away from the meeting energized, inspired, and ready to take action.

“I’m hoping that they will write letters to the editor. I hope they will call their county board chairs. I hope they will go to their township meetings and ask their townships to adopt resolutions,” she said.

“I’m hoping everybody walked away saying, ‘I, as a citizen who just came here to learn about this, have the power to act and there are several things that I can do.’”

Richart also said county boards can take a couple actions: they can file with the ICC to intervene, and they can adopt zoning and other land use ordinances.

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Rich Egger
The audience filled the meeting rooms at the Spoon River College Community Outreach Center in Macomb.

McDonough County resident Bill Jacobs said he wants local officials, especially county board members, to work against the project.

“We need our elected officials to provide our voices in Springfield,” he said.

Jacobs said the project would pump “a dangerous product within yards” of some homes, and that the right-of-way for the pipeline goes close to his property.

“Literally, it’s right across the road,” he said.

In addition to his safety concerns, Jacobs is also worried about how the pipeline might affect his property value.

Organizers of the meeting made anti-pipeline yard signs available for free, and they urged people to join the group Citizens Against Heartland Greenway Pipeline. The not-for-profit group formed so that pipeline opponents could pool their money to pay for legal services. A one-year membership is $500.

In western Illinois, Navigator’s pipeline would go through Adams, Brown, Fulton, Hancock, Knox, McDonough, Pike, and Schuyler counties.

It would also go through Lee and Des Moines counties in southeast Iowa.

The entire project covers 1,300 miles through five states: Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, and South Dakota. It would collected CO2 from more than three dozen industrial sites such as ethanol plants and pump it to an underground storage site in Christian County in central Illinois.

Navigator Heartland Greenway is a subsidiary of the Texas-based oil pipeline development company Navigator CO2 Ventures LLC.

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.