Wolf Carbon's Illinois Pipeline Plan Hits the Skids, Safety Concerns Trump Business in CO2 Clash

Wolf Carbon's Illinois Pipeline Plan Hits the Skids, Safety Concerns Trump Business in CO2 ClashSource: Wolf Carbon Solutions
Damon R. Sheffield
Published on November 26, 2023

Wolf Carbon Solutions U.S., a player in the high-stakes pipeline poker game, is folding its hand in Illinois—at least for now—as it limps away to regroup for a comeback next year. They've hit the brakes on a major CO2 pipeline running through the Prairie State, a project that has locals and landowners on the edge of their seats, and not in a good way.

Yep, they're pulling back their application to construct a 260-mile controversial carbon path of pressurized CO2, and with opposition buzzing like hornets at a picnic, it’s clear the Denver-based company has got some convincing to do. According to the Chicago Tribune, Wolf invoked a strategic retreat after an Illinois Commerce Commission staffer said no to the project over safety and supply woes.

But Wolf's Dean Ferguson, company president, insists this time-out is all about crossing T's and dotting I's—and picking up the pieces—in a bid to come back stronger. "Wolf understands and respects the stringent regulatory review process for this project," Ferguson said in the kind of well-scripted statement company presidents make, which was obtained by the Chicago Tribune. He senses a second chance coming in early 2024, when he plans to toss their rehashed proposal back into the ring.

Brett Seagle, gas engineer extraordinaire and apparently Illinois' newfound guardian angel, is at the heart of this dramatic pause. His testimony before the Illinois Commerce Commission was a wake-up call for pipeline pushers—that safety takes the front seat. "The lives and safety of Illinois citizens must come before business concerns," Seagle rang out, as told by The Pantagraph.