Put a moratorium on CO2 pipeline construction

While it is true that pipelines are nothing new, a proposed one is larger and more complex than any in existence.

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A carbon dioxide capture system is shown under construction in 2009 at American Electric Power’s Mountaineer Plant in New Haven, West Virginia

A carbon dioxide capture system is shown under construction in 2009 at American Electric Power’s Mountaineer Plant in New Haven, West Virginia.


In an Aug. 1 letter, James Watson, executive director of the American Petroleum Institute Illinois, took issue with a recent Sun-Times editorial that questioned the need for CO2 pipeline projects to transport CO2 — mostly from other states — and store it underground here in Illinois. Let me take issue with several of Watson’s talking points.

While it is true that CO2 pipelines are nothing new, the pipeline network proposed by Navigator CO2 Ventures is unlike any of the 5,000-plus miles of CO2 pipelines that currently exist. Existing pipelines primarily connect natural sources of CO2 to oil fields to be used for enhanced oil recovery. The Navigator system is larger and more complex than any in existence. It will collect CO2 from multiple capture sites, pressurize it, divert some to offloading stations and deliver the rest to storage sites in the state. This is a different kind of pipeline. Past safety performance does not apply.

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Yes, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration regulates CO2 pipelines, but the group recently completed an analysis of a 2020 CO2 pipeline rupture in Satartia, Mississippi. Watson would have you believe that CO2 is just like oil and gas when it “spills.”

It is not.

When CO2 exploded from a pipeline weld break, it left a 40-foot, dry ice-filled crater and released an invisible toxic plume that traveled more than a mile to Satartia, hospitalizing at least 45 people. As a result of their analysis, PHMSA determined that current regulations for CO2 pipelines are inadequate. The agency has initiated a rule-making process that is projected to be completed in October 2024.

Under the circumstances, a moratorium on CO2 pipeline construction until new regulations are released only makes sense.

Deni Mathews, Bartlett

The hypocrisy of college conference switches

Surely college athletics will never be the same now that conferences are being rearranged to accommodate those extremely lucrative television contracts.

What’s more, now that athletes are being compensated handsomely for their prowess on the football fields and basketball courts (with name, image and likeness deals), colleges are on the make for more revenue to ensure the top jocks show up on their doorstep.

Like most fans of collegiate sports, I can live with the hypocrisy inherent in the term “student-athlete.” After all, what choice do I have on any given Saturday in the fall?

But please, I don’t want to see any more commercials during the games that promote the academic achievements of the schools being featured. Instead of seeing students in the library or in the research lab, a more authentic picture of campus life might show the star athletes in line to receive a weekly stipend.

Bob Ory, Elgin

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