Wolf Carbon Solutions Website Screenshot

Wolf Carbon Solutions Website Screenshot

It was a beautiful summer morning, and I was enjoying yoga on the dock in my peaceful Port Byron community, located along the banks of the great Mississippi River. Just as I was gazing up at the tranquil sky, a majestic bald eagle soared by. I thought to myself, what a wonderful place to live. My peace and the safety of this gorgeous land, unbeknownst to me, would soon be in for an epic battle.

Upon my return home later that morning, the local post officer presented me with a certified letter from a company out of Denver, Colorado, named Wolf Carbon Solutions. I was not expecting this letter, but I soon learned that the Wolf company, on Friday, June 16, 2023, had filed an application with the Illinois Commerce Commission for a Certificate of Authority that would allow them to build a 260-mile pipeline for transporting liquid carbon dioxide from ethanol plants in Cedar Rapids and Clinton, Iowa, to Decatur, Illinois.

From the Decatur location, carbon dioxide gas from large ethanol facilities would be pressurized, then transported in a newly built pipeline through my neighborhood, as well as several other counties in Illinois. In addition to the pipeline, approximately 33 facilities will need to be built across our states' lands and private properties.


Intervening in the Illinois Commerce Commission's protocol, via trial by jury, is the best way to stop the carbon dioxide pipeline project. Last summer, the Coalition to Stop CO2 Pipelines formed a nonprofit organization that allowed landowners to actively oppose another company named Navigators, preventing them from installing a pipeline by forcing them to withdraw their application. Wolf has filed permitting applications to place their pipeline near rural residents and businesses, either through or near communities that include Port Byron, Hillsdale, Geneseo, Lafayette, Brimfield, and many other cities. The Stop CO2 Pipelines Coalition is represented by attorneys from these surrounding areas who will oppose their applications. Welcome, Coalition to Stop CO2 Pipelines (NoIllinoisCO2Pipelines.org).

This CO2 pipeline is not like other pipelines. CO2 must be pressurized by putting the gas under extreme pressure. One minor leak or rupture could be catastrophic. Under pressure, CO2 can explode from a pipeline, and asphyxiate people and animals within minutes – all living creatures in the area would be suffocated. In 2020 a leak from a 24-inch pipe near Satartia, Mississippi, caused more than 200 people to be evacuated, sending 46 to the hospital, among them first responders.

Coming Soon to Your Neighborhood

Wolf and other similar companies will be pursuing their predatory tactics across the nation in response to the Biden Administration's recent Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act, which funds these private organizations to capture gaseous carbon dioxide waste, transferring it miles from its source via pipelines running through our private neighborhoods, school districts, farms, churches, and businesses. Pipelines don't belong in neighborhoods! Especially those that are under regulated and pose a real threat to our crops, our forests and natural woods, and our waterways.

This pipeline could go directly through my neighborhood of Byron Woods, potentially endangering more than 40 homeowners, rural properties, a school district, churches, and farms. The current law allows private property to be taken under Eminent Domain powers. It's a scary thought that if Wolf succeeds in its effort to secure a permitting certificate through the Illinois Commerce Commission, it will be like a runaway train. Once rolling, public-private partnerships such as these are hard to stop, and are likely coming soon to your neighborhood.

Eight Reasons to Oppose CO2 Pipelines

According to Coalition to Stop CO2 Pipelines, the following are the top eight reasons to stop the construction of CO2 pipelines:

  1. CO2 Pipelines Aren't Safe: In order to transport the carbon dioxide via pipeline, it must be liquified under pressure three times the rate of natural gas. CO2 pipelines can, and do, rupture or leak. When this occurs, an explosive plume of CO2 gas can emerge that can travel a mile or more. Because it is an asphyxiant, and heavier than air, accumulating in low-lying areas, the CO2 plume can suffocate all living beings, and prevent internal combustion engines in gas-powered vehicles from starting, making escape and rescue difficult or impossible.

  2. Eminent Domain: The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) will grant eminent domain if they approve a CO2 pipeline, and landowners will have no say over whether a carbon pipeline company can build through their property. This is particularly true in Illinois, because the state has adopted the Carbon Dioxide Transportation and Sequestration Act. As currently written, the Act establishes carbon capture as a public good, a key criterion for enabling eminent domain. The Illinois Commerce Commission may consider landowner objections to the pipeline based on safety, if many intervene in the ICC proceedings. For that reason, landowners should NOT SIGN A VOLUNTARY EASEMENT at this time. Doing so will waive future rights. (Also do not allow the company’s surveyors on your private property and put up NO TRESPASSING signs.)

  3. Few Regulations Exist for CO2 Pipelines: Carbon pipelines are dangerous and under-regulated. CO2 is an asphyxiant that can travel large distances at lethal concentrations from the pipeline after a rupture. CO2 pipelines are prone to ductile fractures which, like a zipper, open up and run down a significant length of the pipe, while releasing immense amounts of CO2, hurling large sections of pipe, and generating enormous craters. A small amount of water in a CO2 pipeline allows the formation of carbonic acid which can corrode the pipeline, causing a leak or rupture. After investigating the CO2 pipeline rupture near Satartia, Mississippi, the Pipeline Hazardous Materials and Safety Administration (PHMSA) announced a rule-making process to improve safety and oversight of CO2 pipelines. But Navigator and ADM/Wolf are moving forward with their projects before the rule-making is complete.

  4. Damages to Topsoil and Reduced Crop Yield.: Productivity of cropland can be negatively affected by construction. A 2021 Iowa State University study of pipeline construction impacts associated with the Dakota Access Pipeline found “extensive soil disturbance from construction activities had adverse effects on soil physical properties, resulting from the mixing of topsoil with backfill brought in for filling pipeline trenches; and soil compaction from heavy machinery.” These impacts can discourage root growth and reduce water infiltration. The research team found: "Crop yields in the right-of-way were reduced by an average of 25 percent for soybeans and 15 percent for corn during the first and second crop seasons, compared to undisturbed fields.”

  5. Construction of CO2 Pipelines on the Rise: Section 45Q of the Internal Revenue Code provides tax credits on a per-ton basis to companies that successfully trap, sequester and store carbon emissions, preventing them from entering the atmosphere. In August of 2022, the Biden Administration’s Inflation Reduction Act increased these credits from $60 to $85 a ton for carbon stored underground, further accelerating the “mad dash” to build pipelines for corporate profit. There are currently 5,100 miles of CO2 pipelines in this country. But projections from Princeton University indicate there could be as many as 66,000 miles of CO2 pipelines built across the country to meet the demand for carbon capture and sequestration, accelerating impacts and risk.

  6. For Landowners, It's All Risk and No Reward: Private corporations’ profit from carbon capture and sequestration via federal tax credits and low-interest loans. Landowners take all the risk, with little to no reward. While they are compensated initially for the use of their land, payments from pipeline companies do not begin to approach those that are received from wind or solar located on their farmland. Such renewable energy technologies either power a farm, residence, commercial / industrial property, or feed into the grid. Or, if the land is leased by a solar or wind developer, landowners are paid annually in long-term revenue-sharing agreements.

  7. Pipelines Extend the Life of Fossil Fuels: Instead of spending money to more rapidly deploy renewable energy technologies, billions of federal dollars are being spent to keep the fossil fuel industry in business. This is particularly true for projects that involve enhanced oil recovery (EOR), which puts more carbon into the atmosphere when it is burned. We need to keep fossil fuels in the ground in order to meet critical climate targets.

  8. Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Hasn't Worked: Despite extensive public subsidies, 80 percent of the projects that have attempted to commercialize carbon capture and sequestration technology have ended in failure. Between 2005 and 2012, the Department of Energy spent $6.9 billion attempting to demonstrate the feasibility of CCS for coal, but less than 4 percent of the planned CCS capacity was ever deployed. Why use taxpayer dollars to fund a CO2 pipeline system for a technology that has such a poor track record? Plus, there is no proof that the carbon sequestered will remain permanently stored. The greenwashing that calls out CCS as a viable climate solution is setting dangerous policy by diverting funds from technologies we know work.


According to Bankrate, “A building moratorium is an action that halts the construction of a project or projects. Moratoriums are commonly imposed by cities, towns or the courts, for a variety of reasons. They can be short-term or indefinite, depending on the project and the reason the moratorium was issued. Moratoriums may be issued for a specific period of time – such as six months to one year – in order to allow issues of concern to be resolved or may also be imposed for an indefinite period. In some cases, moratoriums may even be renewed and extended over a long period of time. Often, environmental and safety concerns are cited when a moratorium is put into place. In certain situations, concerned citizens may even approach a judge to ask for an injunction or an immediate halt to construction.”

I think all cities and counties in the path of this destructive and unsafe venture by these wolves, should pass a moratorium as soon as possible. I know there are many alliances and coalitions out there right now working hard on our behalf. You can find more information at NoIllinoisCO2Pipelines.org or contact Central Illinois Healthy Community Alliance at info@cihca.org, or call (309)369-5331. Time is of the essence, and we need to fund the attorneys who are fighting for us by representing us in court proceedings with the Illinois Commerce Commission.

According to Shapiro & Associates Law (ShapiroAssociatesLaw.com): “By using moratoria, municipalities are able to prevent the surge of development likely to occur when a municipality announces its intent to rezone, enact a new comprehensive land use plan, or adopt a growth management program. Authority for enacting moratoria is often found as an implied power within a state’s zoning enabling act to exercise police power in the context of a municipality’s zoning and planning authority. For example, most Illinois land use moratoriums cite 65 ILCS 5/11-13-1, et seq., as its authority to enact the land use moratorium for, among other things, the protection of public health, safety, comfort, morals, and welfare.”

Statutory Authority

As stated at the UNC School of Government (SOG.UNC.edu): “The state has the authority to exercise its police powers to protect the public health, safety, and welfare. In addition to specific authority for land-use regulation and the provision of public services, general police powers have been delegated by the state to cities and counties:

“A city may by ordinance define, prohibit, regulate, or abate acts, omissions, or conditions, detrimental to the health, safety, or welfare of its citizens and the peace and dignity of the city, and may define and abate nuisances.

“Local governments also have been delegated the authority to regulate businesses and prohibit those that are nuisances or that may be inimical to the public health, welfare, safety, order, or convenience.

In addition to this general police power, several statutes give local governments specific land-use and development regulatory authority. The zoning enabling acts grant cities and counties authority to regulate and restrict density of population and the location and use of land and buildings. Within zoning districts, they may regulate and restrict the erection, construction, reconstruction, alteration, repair, and use of buildings and land for a variety of purposes, including preventing overcrowding, facilitating the adequate provision of public services, and promoting health, safety, and welfare.

“The subdivision statutes authorize regulations to provide for the orderly growth and development of cities and counties. Other more specific statutes authorize regulation of floodways, water supply watersheds, airport areas, places of amusement, and public health nuisances. The statutes are silent, however, as to local governments' specific authority to adopt development moratoria.

“The question then is whether these grants of authority to regulate and prohibit certain activities to protect the public health, safety, and welfare include the authority to adopt moratoria. For discretionary acts of the governing board, such as rezonings, they clearly do. A governing board is under no obligation to change its zoning, and it can withhold that approval as its sound judgment dictates. A moratorium on rezonings can be established by the governing board's refusal to adopt amendments to an existing, valid zoning ordinance.

“For nonregulatory matters, such as decisions on the extension of utility services or hookups to water and sewer systems, local governments can impose reasonable restrictions when necessary to respond to problems such as a lack of treatment capacity. For example, recently the city of Jacksonville successfully defended, in the federal courts, a moratorium on multi-family sewer hookups imposed due to a lack of wastewater treatment capacity.”

Fight the Good Fight of Faith

The Bible tells us in 1 Timothy 6:12 to fight the good fight of faith, and we are reminded in 2 Corinthians 5:7 to walk by faith and not by sight. I believe in these principles, and now more than ever, we need to put them into practice. Also like the Scripture says, in Matthew 10:16-20, we are being sent out like sheep among wolves:

“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”

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