ARKANSAS, Oct 23 (Future Headlines)- Navigator CO2 Ventures has announced the cancellation of its ambitious Heartland Greenway pipeline project, which aimed to capture and store 15 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually from Midwest ethanol plants underground. The company attributed the cancellation to “unpredictable” state regulatory processes.

The decision to cancel one of the most extensive carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects in the United States represents a significant setback for President Joe Biden’s climate strategy, which relies heavily on CCS projects to combat greenhouse gas emissions. It is also a blow to the ethanol industry, which sees CCS as a crucial tool for reducing emissions from biofuel production.

The now-scrapped Navigator project planned to lay 1,300 miles (2,092 kilometers) of pipeline across five states. Residents along the pipeline’s proposed route expressed concerns about potential safety risks in case of leaks and potential harm to their land from the construction.

In September, South Dakota regulators denied Navigator’s permit application, and in October, the company asked Iowa regulators to suspend its permit process. The most recent setback occurred in Illinois, where Navigator withdrew its permit application, halting its hopes to store captured carbon in the state.

“The people united to resist Navigator at every level in every corner of every state, and we won,” commented Jess Mazour, an Iowa organizer with the Sierra Club environmental group, which actively opposed carbon pipelines.

Navigator had partnered with Poet, the largest biofuel company in the United States, based in South Dakota. The project aimed to capture emissions from 18 Poet plants in Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota. In response to the project’s cancellation, a Poet spokesperson expressed concern that states slow to adopt CCS technologies risk falling behind.

Another major CCS pipeline project proposed by Summit Carbon Solutions has also faced challenges due to concerns from landowners, including permit denials in South and North Dakota. Summit, however, maintains its commitment to the project and states that it is well-positioned to add additional plants and communities to the project footprint. Summit recently announced a delay in its pipeline’s operations, moving from the initial timeline of 2024 to 2026.

The cancellation of the Navigator project illustrates the complexities and challenges facing CCS projects in the United States, including regulatory hurdles, environmental concerns, and opposition from local communities. President Biden’s goal of reducing emissions relies on the successful deployment of CCS technology, making it essential for policymakers, energy companies, and communities to work together to address these challenges and accelerate the development of clean energy and decarbonization solutions.

Reporting by Emad Martin