Navigator pulls its pipeline permit application in Illinois

By: - October 10, 2023 2:33 pm

The route of the proposed Heartland Greenway pipeline. (Courtesy of Navigator CO2)

Navigator CO2 on Tuesday moved to withdraw its carbon dioxide pipeline permit application in Illinois, effectively halting its project.

The motion comes about a week before the Illinois Commerce Commission was set to hold an evidentiary hearing for the application.

The company’s proposed 1,350-mile pipeline system suffered a setback in South Dakota in September when state regulators denied Navigator a construction permit.

Later in September, the company asked to suspend its permit process in Iowa. At the time, Navigator indicated it would wait for a ruling on its permit in Illinois, which was expected by the end of February 2024.

But the company now says it is “taking time to reassess the route and application.”

“Navigator will withdraw its current application with the intent to reinitiate Illinois permitting, if appropriate, when Navigator’s full evaluation is complete,” the company said in a prepared statement.

A company spokesperson declined to comment further. Navigator had previously withdrawn its first application in Illinois and reapplied because of a route adjustment.

Navigator proposes to transport captured carbon dioxide from ethanol plants and other facilities in five states — including Nebraska — to Illinois for underground sequestration and other commercial uses. Most of those sites are in Iowa.

Opponents of the project say it poses a safety risk to residents and livestock, it would irreparably damage farmland, and that the use of eminent domain to build it is improper because it doesn’t serve the public.

The proposal is one of three in Iowa. Summit Carbon Solutions is near the end of its permit process with the Iowa Utilities Board. An evidentiary hearing is pending and expected to resume for days in November. The company hopes to have a decision on its Iowa permit by the end of the year.

Summit was also denied a permit in South Dakota but plans to reapply. North Dakota utility regulators also denied Summit a permit but have agreed to reconsider the application.

Wolf Carbon Solutions wants to build a much smaller system in eastern Iowa, but the Iowa Utilities Board has not yet set a procedural schedule to guide the rest of its permit process.

This article first appeared in the Iowa Capital Dispatch, a sister site of the Nebraska Examiner in the States Newsroom network.

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Jared Strong
Jared Strong

Senior reporter Jared Strong has written about Iowans and the important issues that affect them for more than 15 years, previously for the Carroll Times Herald and the Des Moines Register. His investigative work exposing police misconduct has notched several state and national awards. He is a longtime trustee of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council, which fights for open records and open government. He is a lifelong Iowan and has lived mostly in rural western parts of the state.