McClure Proposing Landowner Protections From Eminent Domain Usage on CO2 Pipeline Projects

By Benjamin Cox on January 30, 2024 at 1:37pm

State Senator Steve McClure says he’s partnered with the Illinois Farm Bureau to protect landowners from eminent domain usage for CO2 pipeline projects.

McClure has filed a bill to amend the land code in the state so that CO2 sequestration pipeline projects can’t apply eminent domain for the purpose of completing those projects under the umbrella of being a clean energy or utility project: “This is a bill that a lot of folks wanted me to file because although the most recent pipeline application has been withdrawn, we don’t know what’s next here. So I think it’s important to protect people that live in areas that could be affected by these pipelines because I don’t think it’s right for the government or some company to have any ability to take away the rights of private landowners for something like this. That’s why I filed the bill, and as I said the Farm Bureau and I are working together on this on this bill, and they drafted the bill and hopefully we can get a hearing on it.”

McClure says he’s optimistic that the bill will get a hearing because the public’s participation on the pipeline process has been high. McClure says there is more to come on the issue: “In the last session, we were allowed to get a hearing to talk about all of the CO2 pipeline bills so that’s kind of where we started. And that public discussion gets in the news, people start talking, and then they start showing up to public hearings, and then the rest is history with the most recent pipeline. I’m optimistic that we’ll get some movement on it and this is not the only bill that I’m intending to file involving CO2 pipelines. There’s one that is being drafted right now. The main point is to keep the conversation going so that all of the lawmakers in this state and all of the news outlets in this state and all of my constituents can hear the perspective of private landowners who would be affected by any pipelines; and I think that’s a conversation that when everybody hears it, people are going to take the side of private landowners.”

McClure has been equally surprised at the cross section of private landowners and environmentalists who have been in favor of regulating and pushing back against CO2 sequestration in the state, despite the state’s clean energy goals: “Some of the bigger environmental groups have been very supportive and worked with me on the last legislation that I filed involving CO2 pipelines and they are working with me on the bill that is being drafted right now. So the Farm Bureau, the farmers, constituents, private land owners, and environmentalists are all in support of these bills to protect our constituents. It is a unique grouping of people, very eclectic, but when people see the impact on private landowners and the public safety issues too by the way, these groups of people that you wouldn’t think would be on the same page are on the same page and I think that should speak to that it’s the right thing to do to file this legislation and try to protect the public from CO2 pipelines that quite frankly, people don’t want,” states McClure.

The bill has been referred to the Senate assignments committed and awaits a committee vote.