The local government of McLean County in the U.S. state of Illinois is preparing for the arrival of carbon capture technology as several CO2 pipeline projects are expected to try setting up sequestration wells in the county, local news source WGLT reported.
The first of these projects is anticipated to be Heartland Greenway, a proposal to store liquefied carbon dioxide (CO2) underground by Omaha-based Navigator CO2, for which plans have already been submitted to federal regulators. It is part of a pipeline project to carry liquefied CO2 from Iowa and other Midwestern states to central Illinois.
Carbon capture has been hailed as a solution for climate change by its proponents, while opponents doubt that it is safe or even green.
“One of the things I find most challenging about this subject is that there are multiple points of view within the scientific community, the ecology community, landowner questions,” McLean County Board member Lea Cline was quoted as saying.
According to Cline, who is chair of the board’s Land Use and Development Committee, carbon capture technology should be addressed the same way as wind and solar energy at first — “receptive but with a dose of caution”.
While the pipelines are subject to permission from the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Illinois Commerce Commission, local governments have some control over the location of the wells, Cline noted during the latest monthly meeting of the Committee.
In this respect, Cline added that the county does not want to interfere with the right of landowners to monetize their land as they wish, but it has to consider greater impacts such as the effect on the neighboring properties and on broader geological and environmental circumstances.
She is mainly concerned about the decommissioning of out-of-use wells, especially considering potential changes in the ownership of the land and the respective carbon companies.
The committee will address this and other questions in upcoming consultations with Navigator CO2, the Illinois Farm Bureau, environmentalists, and other stakeholders in order to come up with the best approach, Cline said.