A major carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) pipeline has run into problems with landowner pushback and administrative adequacy, with its postponement standing as the latest in a line of problems for CCS projects throughout the Midwest.
Wolf Carbon Solutions announced that it would like to withdraw its permit application in Illinois after staffers for the Illinois Commerce Committee (ICC) identified several key problems with the application, according to the Iowa Capital Dispatch. The project also reportedly encountered opposition from local landowners, and the company is hoping to refile the application sometime in 2024 after addressing the concerns identified by ICC’s regulators.
“Wolf understands and respects the stringent regulatory review process for this project, and we appreciate the diligence of the ICC and its staff,” Dean Ferguson, the company’s president, said of the decision. “We have made the decision to withdraw our current application, with the intent to refile in early 2024, to address the questions and concerns raised by ICC staff in their recommendation.”
Wolf Carbon Solutions moved to withdraw its carbon dioxide pipeline permit application in Illinois on Monday to address concerns identified by state regulators, @jstrong712 reports. https://t.co/0gMhGZerbD via @IowaCapDispatch
— Iowa Capital Dispatch (@IowaCapDispatch) November 20, 2023
The pipeline is anticipated to transport carbon captured from Iowan ethanol plants to Illinois for sequestration.
ICC regulators identified several problems with the company’s application, including uncertainty as to whether all affected landowners were notified of the proposal, the fact that Wolf had not reached final agreements with the ethanol plants, the company’s lack of an emergency plan in the event of a rupture and that Wolf had not finalized necessary applications with federal regulators, according to the Iowa Capital Dispatch.
Additionally, many local landowners opposed the project, primarily for safety concerns, according to local outlet 25 News.
CCS technology “involves the capture of carbon dioxide emissions from industrial processes, such as steel and cement production, or from the burning of fossil fuels in power generation,” which “is then transported from where it was produced, via ship or in a pipeline, and stored deep underground in geological formations,” according to NationalGrid.
The Wolf pipeline’s troubles are the latest in a string of hang-ups for CCS pipelines in the Midwest, which the Biden administration is counting on to help reach its longer-term emissions reduction targets, even though the technology has not yet been demonstrated to be effective and economical at scale, according to Reuters. Summit Carbon Solutions recently delayed its timeline to begin operation of its major CCS pipeline in October after South Dakota regulators rejected one of its permit applications, and Navigator CO2 decided to abandon its major project altogether in October after failing to secure the necessary permits on schedule.
The Biden administration has committed to spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to push CCS pipelines as part of its sweeping climate agenda, but landowner opposition and regulatory hurdles have complicated plans for some of the most ambitious planned projects, according to Reuters.
Wolf Carbon Solutions and the White House did not respond immediately to requests for comment.
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