The Wolf CO2 Pipeline proposal, which planned to transport carbon dioxide from Iowa to central Illinois for storage, has been halted for the time being. Wolf Carbon Solutions, the company spearheading the project, filed a motion with state regulators to withdraw its application on Monday, November 20th.
The company’s president, Dean Ferguson, said that it has decided to withdraw the current application but plans to resubmit in early 2024 after recommendations from the Illinois Commerce Commission are taken into account.
This decision comes amidst growing concerns about the environmental impact and safety of carbon dioxide pipelines. Critics argue that the potential for leaks and resulting environmental damage outweighs the benefits of carbon capture and storage.
Brett Seagle, an engineer in the ICC’s safety and reliability division, pointed out in written testimony that Wolf had not sufficiently identified a specific location for the pipeline, had not finalized its business arrangement with Iowa partner Archer Daniels Midland, and had not filed the appropriate paperwork with federal authorities.
In a statement, he expressed that the proposed project is not a benefit to the citizens of Illinois, nor is it in the public interest. He also urged the commission to consider the “overwhelmingly negative public sentiment” toward the project.
Organizations like the advocacy group Citizens Against Predatory Pipelines and the Coalition to Stop CO2 Pipelines have publicly voiced their opposition to the project, citing inadequate regulations surrounding carbon capture as a reason for their concern.
After the rupturing of a CO2 pipeline in Satartia, Mississippi, in 2020, an incident that resulted in the evacuation and hospitalization of local people, the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration began reevaluating safety rules for CO2 pipelines. However, these rules are not expected to be finalized until at least October 2024.
Wolf Carbon Solutions becomes the latest company to change its plans for CO2 pipelines after Summit Carbon Solutions had its permit requests denied in North and South Dakota for a 2,000 mile project, while Navigator CO2 Solutions canceled its 1,300-mile Heartland Greenway project.