Environmental Advocates and Landowners Sound the Alarm that Carbon Capture and Storage Sequestration Regulations Are Needed Now

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Contacts: Hannah Flath, hannahlee.flath@sierraclub.org, 860-634-0225

Springfield, IL. -- Amidst ongoing negotiations in the Illinois General Assembly, over fifty environmental advocates and landowners today called for the swift passage of the Carbon Dioxide Transport and Storage Protections Act (HB3119/SB2421). The Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) industrial cycle, which is now heavily subsidized by federal taxpayer dollars, has profound implications for Illinois, and protections are needed at all points in the CCS industrial cycle—from heavily polluting facilities where industry will attempt to capture carbon, along pipeline routes that will transport compressed carbon, and at injection sites.

HB3119 includes property and liability protections for landowners. The legislation prohibits the use of eminent domain for CO2 pipeline construction and sequestration sites, ensures pipelines are not dangerously located close to residences, businesses, or other sensitive sites in case of pipeline rupture, and ensures costs and risks related to CCS projects are borne by the CCS industry, not taxpayers. 

“Right now, constructing CO2 pipelines requires permanent easements—in other words, industry interests are attempting a land-grab from hardworking Illinoisans. As a farmer in McDonough County, I’m advocating for HB3119 to protect my family, livelihood, and farmland from that land-grab,” said Steve Hess, fifth-generation McDonough County farmer and member of Citizens Against Heartland Greenway Pipeline. “CO2 pipelines will cross our farmland without regard for how they disconnect farm parcels. Construction will sever our pattern tile drainage systems, cause soil erosion, and mix prime farmland with soils used for filling in trenches. Heavy equipment will compact our ground, reducing water infiltration. All of this will reduce crop yield and permanently damage farmland. We need HB3119, which eliminates eminent domain, honors private property rights, and protects my farm from damage and the health risks associated with CO2 pipelines.”

HB3119 also includes public health protections for communities affected by the CCS industrial cycle and guardrails to ensure Illinois continues to lead on climate. The bill requires environmental impact and geohazard analyses to ensure that CCS projects will not harm local water supplies, increase other harmful polluting emissions, or generate more carbon than they will capture. The legislation also develops frameworks for public participation so that impacted communities, particularly environmental justice communities, are consulted regarding the impacts of these projects. 

“ADM/Wolf’s proposed CO2 pipeline includes a proposed spur that runs up through Peoria’s Southside. The Southside is a place where people live, play, worship, and work. It is also an environmental justice community,” said Robert Johnson, President of the Peoria Park District. “The Southside is poorer, less educated, has worse health outcomes, and is 66% Black. Zip codes in this area are in the highest national percentiles for exposure to particulates, lead, and more. The proposed pipelines will only add to these burdens and prop up the industries that create these environmental injustices in the first place. We need the common sense regulations in HB3119 that ensure pipeline setbacks, environmental justice analysis, more transparency, and public input regarding these decisions.” 

“The significant impacts for communities across Illinois brought us together today. Whether you live next to a polluting coal plant considering carbon capture technology like the Prairie State and Dallman coal plants, or are a resident on the Southside of Peoria where the ADM/Wolf pipeline is proposed to run through, or are a farmer having to fight for your land near pipeline routes and proposed injection sites—we need protections,” said Sierra Club Illinois Senior Campaign Representative Christine Nannicelli. “These protections must include public health precautions at all phases of the CCS industrial cycle, no land without consent, and the strongest climate safeguards.”

You can watch today’s rally here.

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