Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, November 6, 2023

Contact:

Lauren Parker, (202) 868-1008, lparker@biologicaldiversity.org

Legal Petition Demands Biden Administration Halt Fast-Tracked CO2 Pipeline Permits

CO2 Pipeline Rupture Could Cause Asphyxiation, Halt Gas-Powered Vehicles

WASHINGTON— More than 350 environmental, public health, Indigenous, faith-based and community groups sent a legal petition to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers today demanding that it stop fast tracking permits for carbon dioxide pipelines.

“Pipelines transporting dangerous carbon dioxide that can asphyxiate and kill people shouldn’t get blanket review,” said Lauren Parker, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute. “The Army Corps needs to review each and every one of these pipeline projects to address the extensive health and safety threats they pose to communities and wildlife.”

The petition demands that the Army Corps remove carbon dioxide pipelines from Nationwide Permit 58, created in 2021 to rush approvals for utility pipelines that transport water, sewage and other substances, including carbon dioxide.

The groups say carbon dioxide pipelines need individual permit review because of the dangers of transporting carbon dioxide, which becomes an asphyxiant when compressed. More than 200 people were evacuated and at least 45 hospitalized after a 2020 pipeline rupture in Satartia, Mississippi. Compressed carbon dioxide also halts combustion engines, hampering emergency response.

The petition also outlines the Army Corps’ legal authority and responsibility to deny carbon dioxide pipeline permits as “contrary to the public interest” under the Clean Water Act and Rivers and Harbors Act. The pipelines meet that public-interest threshold due to the lack of federal oversight and climate, health and safety risks, particularly in vulnerable communities where they worsen environmental injustice.

“These pipelines would degrade Indigenous lands and put our communities at risk, furthering the Army Corps’ failure to uphold its obligations to the tribes,” said Mahmud Fitil, land defense director at Great Plains Action Society. “It’s outrageous to degrade our land with dangerous pipelines that do more to prop up fossil fuels than they do to address the climate emergency. We should be working toward restoring the prairie and other natural and proven vectors of carbon sequestration that protect our land and water, not fossil fuel profits.”

Billions of dollars in public subsidies under the Inflation Reduction Act and other programs are sparking a boom in carbon capture and related carbon dioxide pipelines. Often billed as climate solutions, these projects prolong the life of polluting fossil fuel projects and delay the transition to clean energy. Carbon capture projects nationwide have repeatedly failed to meet their climate promises even as they put people and wildlife at risk.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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