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Coalition of Business, Labor, Agriculture Groups Unveil Landmark Legislation to Advance Carbon Capture and Storage in Illinois

For Immediate Release
March 13, 2024                                                                 

Coalition of Business, Labor, Agriculture Groups Unveil Landmark Legislation to Advance Carbon Capture and Storage in Illinois

Regulatory framework will foster investment in CCS technology, help Illinois reach clean energy goals, promote job creation and economic growth

SPRINGFIELD – A coalition of business, labor and agriculture groups have united behind legislation that would provide a regulatory framework to advance carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects in Illinois, helping the state reach its clean energy goals while simultaneously promoting job creation and economic growth. The proposal (SB3311/HB569) is the result of months of negotiations with a diverse array of stakeholders and includes strong landowner protections, support for local first responders, and numerous safety and accountability provisions.

Sponsored by Sen. Bill Cunningham, D-Chicago, and Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, the legislation builds upon existing federal incentives and regulations, recognizing the state’s distinctive geology provides a unique opportunity to work toward Illinois’ goal of reducing greenhouse gases while also increasing economic development. As other states compete for investments, Illinois must seize the opportunity to provide clear policies to allow for successful project development.

CCS captures carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions at the source, preventing their release into the atmosphere and storing them permanently deep underground. According to the Clean Air Task Force, CCS is a safe and proven technology that has been commercially applied to operations in the U.S. since the 1970s. International studies addressing the energy transition suggest that CCS is a necessary tool for rapid decarbonization, along with energy efficiency and electrification.

“This technology prevents greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere, which can improve air quality and help Illinois reach its clean energy targets,” said Dr. Sallie Greenberg, a leading carbon capture and storage scientist who led a mandated study report for the General Assembly about the potential of CCS to help the state meet its emissions goals. “Illinois is uniquely positioned to lead the way on carbon reduction efforts because of our exceptional geology which consists of rocks with both excellent storage potential and rocks that act as impermeable barriers to keep CO2 permanently stored more than a mile beneath the surface.”

“Illinois has set aggressive decarbonization goals and this legislation creates another tool to help us achieve success,” said Senator Cunningham, who also serves as the Illinois Senate President Pro Tempore. “This proposal will help create a healthier and more sustainable future for our communities, while generating thousands of new green energy jobs.”

According to a study from the University of Illinois, CCS development and expansion has the potential to create 14,400 jobs, generating more than $3 billion more for the State’s economy over 10 years. This includes the creation of new employment opportunities in the construction industry as well as the operation of new CCS facilities.

“The economic impact of enacting this legislation will be seen for generations,” said Representative Hoffman, Assistant House Majority Leader. “Under this proposal, Illinois will remain competitive as industries look to utilize this technology and expand operations, growing jobs and ensuring Illinois meets its carbon reduction goals.”

“This bill presents a critical opportunity to further propel Illinois’ transition to a clean energy economy without leaving workers and families behind, creating thousands of jobs and instituting strong labor standards that ensure fair wages, safe working conditions and training to get the job done right,” said Joe Duffy, Executive Director of Climate Jobs Illinois.

“Illinois has committed to reducing carbon emissions by 26% by 2025 and set the goal of being at 0% carbon emissions by 2050. Establishing carbon capture technology in Illinois is vital to reaching these goals,” said State Rep. Kam Buckner, D-Chicago. “Changes must be made for Illinois to transition to a clean energy future. We don’t have time to delay.”

CCS technology will also advance efforts to reduce carbon emissions in manufacturing, especially the state’s robust steel, cement and ethanol industries, helping these sectors remain strong as the nation addresses climate change. It is also vital to unleash revolutionary innovations such as the development of sustainable aviation fuel to help airlines cut emissions globally.

“Illinois has a long, proud history of manufacturing excellence, and we should not cede our success to other states because of a lack of regulatory clarity and certainty,” said Mark Denzler, President & CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. “We can decarbonize without deindustrializing our economy. Illinois and our nation will not be able to reach carbon goals, or successfully engage in new products like sustainable aviation fuel or hydrogen, without the use of CCS technology.  Illinois can lead sustainably and economically, ensuring businesses will be able to innovate and grow for decades to come.”

The legislation positions CCS to be a new source of revenue for rural landowners, while also establishing a comprehensive program of restrictions on surface property access, requirements for pre-access notification, and compensation for any damages caused by surface activities. Additionally, the proposal creates a long-term legal and regulatory framework for supervision and oversight of all CCS sites by the State of Illinois. It also requires further consultation with environmental justice communities to address concerns regarding the storage of CO2 and creates a local first responders fund to pay for training and equipment.

“Illinois corn farmers have wanted us to engage on the subject to help ensure landowners are protected. The safeguards in the bill go further than other states,” said Matt Rush, a farmer from Fairfield and Past President of the Illinois Corn Growers Association. “This important technology will help the corn ethanol industry pursue domestic and international low carbon fuel markets, bolster investment in existing production facilities and better position the industry to develop market opportunities like sustainable aviation fuel.”

“This measure encompasses the interests and unique positions of multiple stakeholders who worked together to craft a truly collaborative carbon capture proposal,” said State Sen. Doris Turner, D-Springfield. “Additionally, it requires public participation procedures for projects in communities with environmental justice concerns, ensuring local voices will be heard.”

“Illinois has set bold pollution and climate change targets to not only address current emissions but be proactive for future output. Now, it is time to act on those promises and achieve those goals. We do that through smart carbon capture technologies and investment that keeps CO2 out of the atmosphere in the first place, said State Rep. Eva-Dina Delgado, D-Chicago. I am proud to join my colleagues in the legislature and dedicated advocates on bold legislation to address climate change and our workforce development challenges at the same time. CEJA was just the beginning, and I am committed to doing everything I can to push this legislation forward.”

The Capture Jobs Now Coalition includes the following organizations: