Navigator’s Heartland Greenway Receives Scathing Rebuke From ICC Gas Engineer in Testimony

By Benjamin Cox on July 8, 2023 at 8:58am

The Navigator Heartland Greenway project appears to be slowed as support for its construction has drawn criticism from a top state official.

According to a State Journal Register report, Illinois Commerce Commission senior gas engineer Mark Maple provided testimony to the commission last month recommending that the ICC turn down Navigator’s Heartland Greenway pipeline construction permit request.

Maple cited multiple reasons to halt the permit for the $3.2 billion pipeline that would stretch across most of West Central Illinois. Maple said in his testimony that the company has not received sufficient amounts of easements – only 13.4% according to records, granting the use of land for the pipeline, nor does he believe that Navigator has sufficient experience in building CO2-specific pipelines. Maple says the most lacking piece in the pipeline’s request is that they have not secured a sequestration site.

Attempts to find a site in Christian and Montgomery counties are currently on hold as county boards there have placed moratoriums on CO2 sequestration pipelines for various reasons.

Maple also testified that these reasons, along with the lack of a benefit to the citizens of Illinois directly, he sees no need to grant the pipeline’s request. Maple also said in testimony that the 2011 state legislation Carbon Dioxide Transportation and Sequestration Act, which is regularly cited by Navigator for legal standing of their pipeline’s construction, was intended for use by the coal industry and not for agriculture sector carbon sequestration.

In comments to the State Journal Register, Navigator disagreed with Maple’s assessments, saying that Maple misrepresented claims about the company not having the proper sequestration site. Navigator representatives say they have both the necessary land rights and multiple Class VI permit applications filed with and approved by the US EPA.

Navigator will be in Springfield on July 17 for a public meeting held at the Bank of Springfield Center where it and pipeline opponents are expected to give presentations.