PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – City leaders, community activists, and residents on Peoria’s south side are raising concerns about plans for a potential underground Carbon Dioxide pipeline.

First District City councilwoman Denise Jackson along with members of Southside Community United for Change, Heart of Illinois Sierra Club, and Central Illinois Healthy Community Alliance held a press conference Thursday morning addressing these concerns.

Jackson said two companies, Wolf Carbon Solutions and Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), are proposing the pipeline that would run from Cedar Rapids, Iowa to Decatur. This issue is the pipeline would have to pass under Peoria’s south side as well.

City manager Patrick Urich said the path would likely run along the rail lines along the river east of Washington street, near the BioUrja ethanol plant, to the major pipeline connection.

Jackson said the purpose would be to capture and keep high pressure carbon dioxide underground instead of releasing large amounts into the air.

Urich said Illinois passed the Carbon Dioxide Transportation and Sequestration Act in 2011 where they declared that carbon sequestration pipelines are a benefit to the welfare of the state and advance economic development and environmental protection.

Jackson said Wolf Carbon Solutions contacted city officials about this project last Fall. She said she’s not against the idea but said there are too many possible impacts, questions and safety concerns right now.

“Research has shown that high pressure carbon dioxide projects like this one being proposed can be detrimental for the environment and pose grave safety risks for the community,” Jacksons said.

Some of the questions she raised included:

• What is the contingency plan for protecting residents if there is an explosion underground with the CO2 pipeline?

• How will you protect residents, businesses and neighboring communities in the event of such a disaster?

• What kind of environmental safeguards have been implemented since the big explosion at the BioUrja plant last June?

“There are thousands of stakeholders who would be impacted, who are impacted by operations at BioUrja, residents, businesses, churches, schools, nonprofit organizations and our neighboring communities across the river,” Jackson said. “If there is a safer and a better solution for keeping carbon dioxide from harming our environment and residents then it should be considered.”

Tracy Fox, with Central Illinois Healthy Community Alliance, said if anything happens to those underground pipelines there could be leaks or COS2 released into the air, which would add to health concerns in the community.

“I don’t believe that this carbon capture operation of the pipeline itself would be good for the southside,” Fox said. “BioUrja, yes, should be encouraged to clean up their act and do better but they need to find alternatives to this capture operation if they’re serious about cutting their climate footprint.”

Jackson said there is no exact timeline set up for the project as both companies need a permit with the Illinois Commerce Commission.

She said she’s looking to raise awareness for residents and is encouraging them to join their letter writing campaign to state and federal officials asking for a moratorium until they’re able to reach common ground.

Jackson said she will meet with BioUrja representatives next week and said there will also be a community meeting on this topic Monday April 3, at 5:30 p.m. at Peoria’s Lincoln Branch Library.