Wolf asks to withdraw, refile Illinois carbon pipeline request

Proposed pipeline would connect to two Eastern Iowa ethanol plants

Wolf Carbon pipeline new map
Wolf Carbon Solutions' pipeline system would transport captured carbon dioxide from two ethanol plants in Iowa. CREDIT IOWA UTILITIES BOARD

Wolf Carbon Solutions moved to withdraw its carbon dioxide pipeline permit application in Illinois on Monday to address concerns identified by state regulators.

“This voluntary action does not impact our commitment to the project and its stakeholders, or the ongoing regulatory processes, including with the Iowa Utilities Board and Army Corps of Engineers,” said Dean Ferguson, the company’s president.

Ferguson said Wolf will apply again early next year with the Illinois Commerce Commission for permission to build its pipeline system. About 90 miles of pipe in Eastern Iowa would connect to two ethanol plants to transport their captured carbon dioxide to Illinois for underground sequestration.

Wolf made its application for a certificate of authority to construct and operate its pipeline in Illinois in June 2023. In October, a commission engineer recommended that the application be denied for a number of reasons, including:

  • It’s unclear whether all potentially affected landowners were notified of the proposal.
  • Agreements with the ethanol plants had not been finalized, and Wolf had not secured a sequestration facility.
  • Wolf had not made required applications to federal regulators.
  • Wolf did not provide an emergency response plan in case of a pipeline rupture.

The engineer also said Wolf’s proposal appears to be at odds with the intent of state law that governs carbon dioxide pipelines: “Although I am not an attorney, in my opinion, (Wolf’s) proposed pipeline does not match the legislative purpose of the CO2 Act, which sought to promote and use Illinois coal,” according to the engineer’s written testimony.

Another engineer for the Illinois commission had similar concerns about a pipeline system proposed by Navigator CO2, which later abandoned its multi-state proposal.

Wolf said in its motion to withdraw its application that it believes the application is “sufficient” but that “through a new application, it can address and moot many, if not all, of the concerns expressed.”

Wolf began its hazardous liquid pipeline permit process in Iowa in June 2022. It does not have yet a defined timeline for completion.

Originally published by Iowa Capital Dispatch. Republished with permission.