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Wolf Carbon withdraws application to build Illinois pipeline

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Wolf Carbon Solutions LLC on Monday filed a motion with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) to voluntarily withdraw its Application for Certificate of Authority with predjudice to construct a CO2 pipeline through nine Illinois counties, according to a news release from the Sierra Club. “With predjudice” means they can refile the application later.

“The withdrawal marks the second time a CO2 pipeline company has wasted citizen and ICC resources by submitting a deficient application; Navigator CO2 Ventures similarly withdrew its application twice for its now canceled project,” the news release says.

Wolf’s application drew skepticism from gas engineer and ICC staff member Brett Seagle, who just last month recommended denial of the construction permit due in part to public safety concerns. Pipeline opponents share these concerns, and plan to re-intervene in opposition to the pipeline if Wolf Carbon Solutions re-files a new application, the release says.

Holly Mirell, a member of the Coalition Against CO2 Pipelines and a member of Citizens Against Predatory Pipelines, earlier expressed her concerns in a Zoom interview with Our Quad Cities News.

“It is proposed to come from Cedar Rapids and Clinton, down to an area just north of LeClaire, under the Mississippi, through an area by Cordova and Port Byron, through Henry County and then down south of Peoria, very close to Peoria, ultimately going to an area near Decatur,” Mirell told Our Quad Cities News. “This pipeline is planned to carry carbon dioxide waste, which is highly pressurized carbon dioxide from ethanol plants in Iowa, to be deposited in a geological formation a mile below ground level in the Decatur area.”

(AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)

“Wolf Carbon Solutions is restarting the clock on the ICC process to give themselves more time to come up with answers to the many concerns raised by local residents about the proposed pipeline,” said Joyce Harant, president of Citizens Against Predatory Pipelines. “We know companies like Wolf will try to exhaust us and our resources in our fight to protect our communities, land, and water. Nevertheless, while they scramble to come up with ways to paint this pipeline as safe, we will continue our work to ensure communities across Illinois are aware of the dangers of this project and are prepared to fight back against a second application from Wolf that attempts to cover their tracks. We are not backing down.”

After Wolf Carbon Solutions’ initial application in June 2023, Citizens Against Predatory Pipelines (CAPP) filed a motion to intervene in the ICC case, citing concerns that the proposed pipeline would destroy farmland, jeopardize property rights, endanger residents and degrade land and water. CAPP’s opposition is part of a growing movement across the Midwest demanding property rights and stringent regulations on CO2 pipeline projects.

At the federal level, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is conducting a rule-making process to improve safety and oversight of CO2 pipelines, and they hope to issue a draft by October 2024. In Illinois, advocates plan to continue to pursue legislation to maximize protections for Illinois residents against the risks and hazards of Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS). 

“Wolf may want us to view their withdrawal as cause to sit back and relax, but we are not slowing down our efforts to fight for protections,” said Mirell. “Our current state and federal regulations are woefully inadequate for what is being planned by companies like Wolf Carbon Solutions. In its application to withdraw, Wolf insultingly suggests it can address all of the concerns regarding their plan to store up to 12 million metric tons of CO2 annually, despite having no U.S. experience, no signed customer agreements, and no identified sequestration site.”

“When they return to Springfield next spring, Illinois lawmakers must prioritize enacting legislation that will ensure urban and rural homeowners and landowners, emergency personnel, and residents in urban environmental justice communities like Peoria are protected from these dangerous projects,” she said.

Citizens Against Predatory Pipelines is a member of the Coalition to Stop CO2 Pipelines, a growing group of farmers, local residents and environmental organizations working to educate Illinoisans about the environmental, economic and safety hazards associated with CO2 pipelines. CAPP is preparing to intervene once again in opposition to Wolf Carbon Solutions’ next application. For more information about CAPP’s efforts against Wolf Carbon Solutions’ proposed pipeline, visit here or email info@capp-illinois.org

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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