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Major Navigator CO2 pipeline project is on hold while the company reevaluates the route in 5 states

Carbon Pipeline
Posted at 8:17 PM, Oct 10, 2023

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Navigator CO2 Ventures announced Tuesday that it is putting on hold one of the two biggest proposed carbon dioxide pipeline projects in the Midwest so it can reassess the project.

The company withdrew its application for a key permit in Illinois and said it it was putting all its permit applications on hold. The decision comes after South Dakota regulators last month denied a permit.

The proposed 1,300-mile (2,092-kilometer) project would carry planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions from more than 20 industrial plants across South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois. The Illinois permit is crucial because that’s where the company planned to store the carbon dioxide underground.

“As is consistent with our recent filings in neighboring jurisdictions, Navigator will be taking time to reassess the route and application,” the company said in a statement.

Navigator said it is not abandoning the project. It plans to reapply for permits where appropriate after completing its evaluation.

Opponents cheered the news that the project is being put on hold, and promised to keep fighting when the company reapplies. Opponents had organized landowners who were concerned about the project.

“When you organize the families most at-risk of eminent domain, you can stop a pipeline," said Jane Kleeb with the Nebraska-based Bold Alliance that also fought against the ill-fated Keystone XL oil pipeline. “This is a core lesson we have learned over the years, as pipeline corporations try to bully hard-working Americans into giving up their land for corporate greed.”

Proposed pipelines in the region would use carbon capture technology that supporters believe would combat climate change. Opponents question its effectiveness at scale and the need for potentially huge investments over cheaper renewable energy sources. New federal tax incentives and billions of dollars from Congress toward carbon capture efforts have made such projects lucrative.

Summit Carbon Solutions is behind the biggest proposed carbon dioxide pipeline in the area. It is pressing forward with its plans despite regulatory setbacks in the Dakotas. North Dakota agreed to reconsider its denial of a permit for the $5.5 billion, 2,000-mile (3,220-kilometer) pipeline that would cross five states, and Summit is reapplying in South Dakota. A separate hearing on that project in Iowa started in August. And Minnesota regulators plan to conduct a detailed environmental review of the project.

The Summit pipeline would carry carbon dioxide emissions from more than 30 ethanol plants in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. The emissions would be buried in North Dakota.

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