Hearing both sides of the proposed CO2 pipeline

Those in opposition say they're too many health and safety concerns and don't want to give up...
Those in opposition say they're too many health and safety concerns and don't want to give up land, but those in support say the economic benefits are worth it.(WGEM)
Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 7:46 PM CST
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MACOMB (WGEM) - There is a clear-cut line on what local residents and laborers think should happen with a proposed CO2 pipeline from Navigator CO2.

In Monday night’s McDonough County Law & Legal Committee meeting, many in support and many in opposition were on hand to see what would be done with a newly developed Carbon Pipeline Development Agreement, which states that Navigator could pay the county up to $630,000 per year for 30 years.

That amounts to $18.9 million.

The committee heard from several speakers on both sides, one of which was local farmer and landowner Rick Ferguson, who’s against the pipeline.

Ferguson said his beliefs are backed by science and the pipeline would come very close to his home in rural McDonough County.

“CO2 has been around forever and ever and ever, and in fact we love CO2 because that’s what makes our corn and soybean produce tremendous yields,” Ferguson said. “CO2 is put off by humans and animals, plants absorb it, they put off oxygen and that’s what keeps us all going.”

231 Local Laborer Shane Mettler shares a different perspective.

Mettler said he would be on the crew that would install the pipeline and has worked on other pipelines in the region before.

“There are concerning points on both sides, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take for my family, that’s how I provide for my family,” Mettler said.

Mettler said the safety precautions he and other workers take should ease any concern.

“If there’s a small leak in it, that pipe couldn’t go underground,” Mettler added. “It had to be completely redone, that section of pipe had to be tossed, if it was dinged the wrong way we couldn’t use it.”

McDonough County State’s Attorney Matt Kwacala advised the committee that because of a continuing legal case between Navigator and the Illinois Commerce Commission that they not take action, which is what happened.

Bethel Township farmer George Hinderer said he’s received four calls from Navigator inquiring about land acquisition and surveying.

He said the latest offer he’s been made was $90,000.

“I don’t begin with CO2 capture to begin with,” Hinderer said. “I probably would have no interest in it at any price.”

The pipeline would cross 10 counties in Southeast Iowa and West Central Illinois including Hancock, Schuyler and McDonough Counties.

Related Stories: No action taken in proposed McDonough County, CO2 pipeline agreement

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