Decatur should reject CO2 pipeline
The city of Decatur is proposed to be the final resting place for millions of tons of carbon dioxide shipped from Iowa and stored under Lake Decatur. CO2 pipelines pose a threat to human health and should not be located within a city of 70,000 people. The Decatur City Council should reject an easement for a CO2 pipeline.
RUPTURED CO2 PIPELINE CAUSED SIGNIFICANT HARM
In 2020, a CO2 pipeline near Satartia, Mississippi in Yazoo County burst. Dozens of individuals were hospitalized and hundreds of individuals were displaced in a county with a population of <26,000. If such significant harm can occur in a rural community, why would the Decatur City Council permit a CO2 pipeline through a city of 70,000? Do residents really want a pipeline close to a home, a school, a hospital, a church, or a place of employment?
LIABILITY FOR POLLUTION MUST PERMANENTLY RESIDE WITH THE POLLUTER
Illinois legislation is being proposed that would shift liability of sequestered carbon from the polluter to the state. In other words, residents of Decatur, one of the poorest cities in Illinois with a median household income of $45,111 and a childhood poverty rate of ~30%, would be financially responsible for the pollution that Wolf Carbon Solutions transported and ADM Co. created and stored under Lake Decatur. ADM Co. reported earnings of $927 million in the second quarter of 2023. The city of Decatur will receive a one-time fee from ADM Co. of $450 per acre for storing their pollution in perpetuity under our drinking water supply.
Unequivocally, Wolf Carbon Solutions and ADM Co. are the sole responsible parties for the transport and sequestration of their pollution. The companies must provide a warranty of what they are doing and that it is safe, they should not be indemnified by the city or state, and they should accept 100% of the liability. If something goes wrong, they are 100% responsible for paying for damages. The very fact that there are attempts to transfer liability should call into question the long-term safety of carbon transport and sequestration.
IS TECHNOLOGY RELIABLE AND SAFE AT SCALE PROPOSED?
The Wolf Carbon Solutions pipeline is projected to transport up to 12 million metric tons of CO2 annually with a large proportion of that CO2 being injected under the city of Decatur. ADM Co. has been sequestering carbon for approximately 10 years and injected 3.5 million tons over that time period (averaging 350,000 tons per year). Thus, the scalability of the carbon sequestration technology requires further verification of its safety and reliability, particularly given its location under the drinking water supply for 70,000 residents.
GLOBAL WARMING IS AN EXISTENTIAL THREAT TO HUMANITY. CO2 PIPELINES ARE NOT THE ANSWER.
Many of the consequences of global warming are now considered unavoidable. Today’s children and young adults are the first generation to experience human-intensified environmental disasters on an annual basis potentially resulting in decreased mental health and increased uncertainty about their future. It is critical that action be taken to address our climate crisis.
With that said, transporting millions of tons of liquified carbon dioxide through a city of ~70,000 residents is not the solution. In fact, such transport may create a more acute safety risk to current and future residents. Decatur, Illinois can be a vibrant, thriving, family-friendly city for decades to come. At the foundation of any city is public safety, and a CO2 pipeline that ultimately results in the disposal of tens of millions of tons of CO2 under Decatur’s drinking water source should not be part of that future.