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

Mar 14, 2024  |  Today's News |  ICGA |  Ethanol

IL Corn represents farmer members in discussions to promote ethanol market development and protect landowner rights


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.


IL Corn Growers Association members have been watching this conversation as projects are proposed around Illinois. Because our members are interested in the topic and wanted a seat at the table as the bill was being written, ICGA farmer leaders are an important part of this coalition and have helped to craft a narrowly focused bill that includes the best landowner protections of any existing bill in the country.


“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 IL 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.”


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.”


CCS is the technology that will allow corn-based ethanol a competitive opportunity in the fuel marketplace. Without the ability to sequester carbon, ethanol will not meet the GHG emissions reduction requirements to participate in sustainable aviation fuel production. CCS also empowers a lower carbon intensity score for ethanol that will help protect the biofuel’s role in a liquid fuel future.