Illinois Unveils Stringent Rules For Carbon Capture Projects

Illinois Unveils Stringent Rules For Carbon Capture Projects - Carbon Herald
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A set of comprehensive regulations for carbon capture and storage (CCS) secured bipartisan approval in the Illinois Senate. 

The bill, now headed to the Governor’s desk, establishes guidelines for every step involved, from capturing the CO2 emissions to burying them deep underground.

Prior to this, Illinois had no regulations on carbon capture, prompting Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) to emphasize the environmental urgency.  “If we do nothing, we don’t know what will happen, but because of the fact that the environmentalists were at the table, the environment and water are top priorities,” she said.

“Not only in this bill, but in the state. Carbon capture and sequestration is going to happen with or without us.”

The legislation sparked debate. Landowners worried about property rights, with the Illinois Farm Bureau particularly vocal against the use of eminent domain practices included in the bill. 

However, these practices require approval from 75% of affected landowners.

Relevant: Illinois Restarts Efforts To Create Carbon Capture Legislation

Another concern was the potential impact on aquifers, particularly the Mahomet Aquifer. Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) highlighted a past methane leak from Peoples Gas, questioning the Illinois EPA’s ability to effectively monitor these projects.

While the bill offers assurances about the safety of storing captured carbon beneath aquifers, it mandates continuous monitoring by the Illinois EPA for 30 years after injections cease. After that period, a risk assessment will determine if further monitoring is necessary.

Despite initial opposition from some Republicans, the bill ultimately gained their support, likely due to the potential benefits for the biofuel industry. 

Relevant: Illinois Rejects Carbon Pipeline Permit For One Earth Energy

Representative Tom Bennett (R-Gibson City) sees carbon capture as a key technology for reducing emissions and enabling the development of sustainable aviation fuels.

The bill also imposes a two-year freeze on constructing carbon capture pipelines, which transport emissions over long distances. This pause aims to give the state time to adopt new federal safety regulations, as several pipeline proposals have already faced public resistance.

The final bill represents a hard-won compromise between environmental and industry stakeholders, facilitated by Governor Pritzker’s office. 

The Governor himself praised the legislation, highlighting its potential to establish national safety standards while creating jobs and attracting investment to Illinois.

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