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Navigator withdraws Illinois carbon pipeline application but plans to refile

Navigator CO2 Ventures is hoping to streamline the application process in Illinois as they add an additional pipeline to the mix.

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Navigator CO2 Ventures plans to collect greenhouse gas emissions from ethanol plants in five states.
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Navigator CO2 Ventures has withdrawn its carbon capture pipeline application in Illinois, where it plans to collect greenhouse gas emissions from ethanol plants in five states, but intends to refile.

The pipeline system, called the Heartland Greenway, would connect ethanol plants in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota, including the plants operated by POET, based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

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In a document filed with the Illinois Commerce Commission on Jan. 20, Navigator said it intends to refile in February with “an additional lateral pipeline to additional sequestration location(s).”

Navigator intends to store some of the liquid carbon dioxide underground in Illinois while some of it is intended for industrial use.

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"With the increasing number of shippers participating in the Heartland Greenway and landowners' collaborative and responsive feedback, refiling allows us to streamline the application process in Illinois for all parties," Navigator CEO Matt Vining said in a news release.

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Navigator had filed its application in July 2022. In its filing with Illinois Commerce Commission, it said commission staff advised that the application be withdrawn.

Carbon capture pipelines have been controversial in the Midwest, with some farmers, landowners and environmental groups banding together in opposition, with concerns about the use of eminent domain to obtain right-of-way, safety and property values. The Coalition to Stop CO2 Pipelines is an Illinois group working against the project.

“Navigator’s initial petition to the ICC was not just incomplete, it was nonsensical,” said Pam Richart, co-founder of the Coalition to Stop CO2 Pipelines and co-Director of the Eco-Justice Collaborative, in a statement. “Without acquiring a sequestration site, there was no way to analyze the proposed route of the pipeline and its potential impact on farmers, landowners, and public safety.”

Navigator was recently put on the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission schedule for permit hearings in June, putting it ahead of the Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline, which will have its case heard in September.

The Summit pipeline would take liquid carbon dioxide to western North Dakota for underground storage.

The two carbon capture projects aim to benefit ethanol plants and corn growers by allowing the plants to sell fuel in markets with a clean fuel standard, such as California. The projects also seek to cash in on tax credit for carbon capture.

Meanwhile in North Dakota, two bills related to carbon capture pipelines will having hearings on Friday, Jan. 27. The two bills SB 2209 and SB 2212, would create threshold levels of voluntary easements in order for carbon pipelines applicants to be granted the right of eminent domain.

Reach Jeff Beach at jbeach@agweek.com or call 701-451-5651 (work) or 859-420-1177.
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