R.F.D. NEWS & VIEWS: Farmers, landowners hold off CO2 pipeline — for now

By Tim Alexander for Chronicle Media

A Christian County farmer whose land would be impacted by a high-pressure CO2 sequestration pipeline that would travel through 12 Illinois counties is making his family’s feelings known: they stand against the project. (Sierra Club photo)

CO2 pipeline proposals have some Illinois farmers and rural landowners scrambling to protect their properties from eminent domain claims and harmful soil impacts. We have an update on Navigator’s plans for a 12-county Illinois CO2 pipeline and more in this week’s news digest for Illinois farmers and rural dwellers. Please read on …


Farmers, landowners hold off CO2 pipeline — for now

BLOOMINGTON — The Sierra Club and the Coalition to Stop CO2 Pipelines are celebrating — for the moment — the scrapping of plans for a pipeline that would have carried high-pressure CO2 underground through 12 Illinois counties. The scuttling of the initial plans for Navigator’s Heartland Greenway pipeline occurred largely due to numerous farmers and landowners in Christian County refusing to sign sequestration leases, citing concerns that the injected CO2 could impact their aquifer, according to news sources.

However, “Navigator plans to re-file a new application with the ICC and expand their project by adding another lateral pipeline route. Navigator’s application with the ICC, if successful, would grant it the power to use eminent domain to ‘take’ pipeline easements from unwilling landowners,” according to Sierra Club Illinois.

In a prepared statement, Navigator made clear that plans for the pipeline project would resume after the new application was filed. “There continues to be a growing and diverse number of industrial emitters across the Corn Belt recognizing the value carbon capture technology provides for their businesses,” Navigator CEO Matt Vining stated. “With the increasing number of shippers participating in the Heartland Greenway and landowners’ collaborative and responsive feedback, refiling allows us to streamline the application process in Illinois for all parties.”

Once the company submits a new application the ICC will have 11 months to review it, according to Bill Bodine, Illinois Farm Bureau director of regulatory affairs. Though the IFB has not taken a position on the project, the farm bureau filed a “petition to intervene” in October 2022 in order to participate in the case and raise any issues or concerns with the regulatory approval process. (IFB; Sierra Club Illinois)


Hunters took more deer in 2022-23

SPRINGFIELD — Paced by a major uptick in traditional firearm and bow hunters, youth hunters and late-season claims, Illinoisans harvested around 12,000 more deer during the 2022-23 hunting season than during the previous season. This is according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, which released data showing hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary total of 158,010 deer during all 2022-23 archery and firearm seasons that concluded Jan. 15. The total preliminary deer harvest compares with a total harvest of 146,438 deer for all seasons in 2021-22.

The totals break down like this:

  • Archery deer hunters took a preliminary total of 69,557 deer during the season that began Oct. 1 and concluded Jan. 15. The total archery harvest during the 2021-22 season was 66,630 deer.
  • Youth deer hunters harvested a preliminary total of 3,339 deer during the three-day Illinois youth deer season Oct. 8-10, compared to 1,847 in 2021.
  • Traditional firearm season hunters took a preliminary total of 76,854 deer during the firearm season Nov. 18-20 and Dec. 1-4. This compares to a harvest of 70,456 deer taken during the 2021 firearm season.
  • Muzzleloader hunters harvested a preliminary total of 2,856 deer during the muzzleloader-only season Dec. 9-11, compared with a harvest of 3,046 deer during the 2021 muzzleloader season.
  • Late-winter seasons: The 2022-2023 late-winter antlerless-only and special chronic wasting disease deer seasons concluded Jan. 15 with a combined preliminary harvest total for both seasons of 5,404 deer. During the same seasons in 2021-22, a total of 4,504 deer were taken. (Illinois e-News)


State Fair Ag Day, Governor’s Sale moved to new days

SPRINGFIELD — Agriculture Day will be moved up on the calendar in order to allow more youth participants to be able to attend the 2023 Illinois State Fair in Springfield, fair manager Rebecca Clark has announced. Ag Day, normally held on the first Tuesday of the fair, will be moved up to Friday, Aug. 1. In addition, the Governor’s Sale of Champions will be making the move to Governor’s Day, which will be Wednesday, Aug. 16.

Another schedule change will be the combination of County Fairs and Horse Racing Day on Thursday, Aug. 10. The opening-day change will provide a full day of horse racing, county fair celebrations, free entertainment, carnival rides and the traditional opening event — the Twilight Parade.

“We took a look at our theme days and saw a couple of ways we could enhance our fairgoers’ experience,” said Clark. “From opening our gates earlier for a full day of horse racing, to exposing more Illinoisians to our state’s number one industry and offering affordable ways for families to enjoy the Illinois State Fair, our newly enhanced theme days will have something for everyone.”

Here is the complete list of the 2023 Illinois State Fair theme and discount days:

Aug. 10 — County Fairs & Horse Racing Day

Aug. 11 — Agriculture Day

Aug. 12 — Kids Day

Aug. 13 — Veterans Day (Free admission for veterans and their families)

Aug. 14 — Senior & Scout Day (Free Admission for seniors and scouts)

Aug. 15 — Twosday ($2 Admission for seniors and adults)

Aug. 16 — Governor’s Day

Aug. 17 — Republican Day

Aug. 18 — First Responders & Healthcare Heroes Day (Free Admission for first responders and healthcare workers w/ID)

Aug. 19 — Park District Conservation Day

Aug. 20 — Family Day

(Illinois e-News)


Illinois Farm Fact:

The 2023 Illinois State Fair will run from Aug. 10-20 at the Fairgrounds in Springfield.

(Illinois e-News)