A blue state asks: Is carbon capture part of climate agenda?

ENERGYWIRE | Illinois’ landmark climate law signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker in 2021 made it clear that renewable energy and electric vehicles would be centerpieces of efforts to eliminate fossil fuels from the state’s economy.

Less clear, however, is whether Pritzker and Illinois’ Democratic-led General Assembly are willing to embrace carbon capture — a third rail of climate politics — as a complementary solution.

While carbon capture technology and its promises aren’t new, the state has only recently faced the reality of companies seeking permits for pipelines to transport millions of tons of liquefied carbon dioxide from dozens of ethanol and fertilizer plants across the region. The two pipelines proposed so far would each cross hundreds of miles of rural landscape, raising a raft of legal and policy questions — and public pushback.

While Republican-led states like Texas and North Dakota have opened their arms to carbon capture projects as an avenue to keep oil, gas and coal relevant as the nation moves away from fossil fuels, Illinois is among the few blue states that could emerge as hubs for carbon sequestration — a fact that is already raising alarm among some key Democrats.

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