U.S. Sen. Steve McClure, R-Springfield, has proposed a bill seeking a moratorium on new carbon dioxide (CO2) pipelines in the state of Illinois for a period of two years or until federal safety standards for CO2 transportation are revised by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, addressing concerns from environmental activists and landowners.
The legislation is co-sponsored by Sens. Sally J. Turner, R-Lincoln, and Rachel Ventura, D-Joliet, the Jacksonville Journal-Courier reported Monday. This shows that safety is a key concern for people across the state who are affected, whether they are Democrats or Republicans, McClure was quoted as saying.
The bill would suspend issuance of any new certificates of authority for building CO2 pipelines and pause applications for the certificates, affecting two carbon capture pipelines that are planned to travel through Illinois.
The project would collect CO2 from four other states and would run through much of west-central Illinois before pumping the liquid CO2 into sequestration wells in Christian and Montgomery counties.
The other project to be affected is the Mount Simon Hub by Denver, Colorado-based Wolf Carbon Solutions, for which an application was filed with the Illinois Commerce Commission in June.
This pipeline would go through Iowa and northwestern Illinois before pumping CO2 into a sequestration site in the Mount Simon Sandstone near Decatur.
McClure said he was concerned about a potential pipeline rupture similar to one that happened in Satartia, Mississippi in early 2020, which led to the evacuation of 200 people and the hospitalization of 45. According to reports from the incident, the leaked CO2 sucked the air out of the surrounding area and caused gas-using vehicles to fail, the Jacksonville Journal-Courier said.
Supporters of the pipelines, however, stress their importance for keeping harmful carbon emission out of the atmosphere for the benefit of both the environment and agricultural businesses, and insist that stringent safety mechanisms are already in place.