The False Promise of Carbon Capture

SOIL Newsletter 1/09/22

If Summit Carbon Solutions and Navigator CO2 Ventures successfully construct their proposed projects, two multi-billion-dollar CO2 pipeline systems will crisscross multiple Midwestern states. The business model is based on capturing CO2 generated from agricultural processes and storing it underground. This is financially viable only because of carbon sequestration tax credits paid for by our tax dollars.[i]

Too much carbon dioxide in the air? Take it out.
Technology got us into this? Technology can get us out.

We think not. Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) is a false solution. It allows the fossil fuel industry to continue to profit at our expense. When you consider the additional energy required throughout the process, it’s clear that the technology – end to end – emits more carbon dioxide than it removes from the atmosphere, especially when used for “enhanced oil recovery” (EOR), and it is not profitable without subsidies. The same amount of money spent on installing renewables would be more effective than trying to breathe life into technologies that are causing the climate crisis.

The hurdles are considerable:

  • Only about 0.1 percent of current annual emissions is being captured and stored – a miniscule portion of the reductions required to meet the targets in the Paris Agreement.
  • Massive amounts of energy are required to extract CO2 directly from the atmosphere. The entire process generates more CO2 than is sequestered.
  • Government has spent over $5 billion on CCS projects to date. There are no success stories.
  • Much of CO2 currently captured is used for ‘enhanced oil recovery.” The additional oil extracted, when burned, creates three times as much CO2 as was sequestered.
  • Profitability depends on the federal Sequestration Tax Credit (often referred to as 45Q). Our tax dollars are providing corporate subsidies for an ineffective technology.
  • A CO2 pipeline explosion occurred in Satartia, MS in 2020. The local newspaper headlined: ‘Foaming at the mouth’: First responders describe scene after pipeline rupture, gas leak.[ii]  

Navigator CO2 Ventures announces carbon capture scheme

The Navigator CO2 pipeline, dubbed “Heartland Greenway,” will transport CO2 from ethanol plants across the Midwest to be pumped underground in south central Illinois.

  • The Illinois Commerce Commission will decide if eminent domain rights may be granted to Navigator CO2 Ventures.  We have observed that they base their decision not on the needs of affected landowners or nearby communities, nor on the well-being of people across Illinois, but only on whether the proposed project seems economically viable; whether they have enough customers signed up to use their proposed pipeline.
  • Landowners pay the price in damage to agricultural land. Experience with DAPL shows the loss of productivity is greater than the compensation Navigator is proposing.
  • The threat to safety is clear.

We will be providing more detailed analyses of these issues over the coming weeks.

Can you attend Information Sessions?

Navigator CO2 Ventures has been contacting landowners along the proposed route, informing them about the construction project and about information sessions to be held during the week of January 10. If you live in the affected counties, you may want to attend one of these sessions:

Henry, KnoxJan. 11, 202210-11:30 AMKnoxville American Legion, 749 Henderson Rd, Knoxville IL, 61448
Fulton, McDonoughJan. 11, 20226-7:30 PMSpoon River Outreach Center, 2500 East Jackson, Macomb IL, 61455
HancockJan. 12, 202210-11:30 AMUniversity of Illinois Extension Center, 550 N Madison, Carthage IL, 62321
Brown, Schuyler, AdamsJan. 12, 20226-7:30 PMKnights of Columbus, Rt 24 West, Mt. Sterling, IL 62355
Pike, Scott, MorganJan. 13, 202210-11:30 AMHamilton’s, 110 N East St., Jacksonville, IL 62650
Sangamon, ChristianJan. 13, 20226-7:30 PMEdgewood Golf Club, 16497 Kennedy Rd. Auburn IL 62615
IL virtualJan. 14, 202211:30 AM-1 PMRegister at:

Attached are two fact sheets on the Navigator CO2 pipeline for your reference.

Yours in action,

The SOIL Team

[i] 2 carbon capture pipelines proposed in Iowa — here’s what we know, Short link:

[ii] ‘Foaming at the mouth’: First responders describe scene after pipeline rupture, gas leak, Short link:

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