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By David Camphouse
In an effort to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by Midwestern manufacturers, a pipeline is being planned that would move compressed carbon dioxide from manufacturing sites throughout the Midwest to a carbon sequestration site near Taylorville. The proposed “Heartland Greenway” pipeline would pass through northeastern Pike County – passing from Brown County to Morgan County.
According to Pike-Scott Farm Bureau Executive Director Blake Roderick, no official stance has been taken to date by the Pike-Scott Farm Bureau regarding the project.
“We’ve not taken a position on it,” Roderick said. “If we take a position, it probably won’t be until February.”
Roderick indicated that some residents and landowners may have reservations about the pipeline, because carbon dioxide pipelines are a recent phenomenon.
“It’s new,” Roderick said. “People are concerned with anything new.”
According to Roderick, the main emitters of carbon dioxide that will utilize the proposed Heartland Greenway pipeline are manufactures in the agriculture and energy sectors.
“It’s the fertilizer and ethanol producers that will be shipping this compressed carbon dioxide,” Roderick said.
Unlike oil and gas pipelines, the Heartland Greenway carbon dioxide pipeline will not be regulated or licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Instead, state agencies will regulate the proposed pipeline project.
“Other types of pipelines are under FERC,” Roderick said. “The Illinois Commerce Commission will have to permit it.”
Roderick also indicated the new pipeline company’s behavior would be subject to an Agriculture Impact Mitigation Agreement (AIMA) with landowners.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Land and Water Resources (BLWR) negotiates with utility and pipeline companies on projects (i.e., wind farms, pipelines and electric transmission lines) to ensure that impacted agricultural land is restored to its pre-construction capabilities.
AIMAs help landowners mitigate the many agricultural impacts that result from the construction of large cross-country oil/natural gas pipelines, electric transmission lines and wind farm projects. A copy of the executed AIMA is also provided to landowners to assist them in their negotiations with utility companies on their individual easement agreements. Wind Farm AIMAs are developed under the Wind Energy Facilities Agricultural Impact Mitigation Act.
AIMAs focus on the restoration aspect of impacts that result from major utility projects being constructed across a landowner’s productive farmland. AIMAs are negotiated with the various utility companies prior to any construction in order to protect landowner’s interests and address problems that result from the project’s construction and/or subsequent restoration.
“The Ag Impact Mitigation Agreement stipulates how they deal with everything – like repairs, depth and drainage,” Roderick said.
While the installation of any pipeline through agricultural land is inevitably disruptive, Roderick said the proposed Heartland Greenway project may be less invasive than some other pipelines – indicating the pipeline is smaller in diameter than most energy-related pipelines.
“It’s only 24 inches,” Roderick said. “It’s not like some of the huge ones we’ve had in the past.”