DECATUR — The process for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to review a permit for Archer Daniels Midland Co. to begin injecting carbon dioxide deep underground is moving forward.
A public hearing was held Tuesday at the Decatur Public Library with nobody showing up to submit comments about changes to the permit. The comment period ends today, after which the EPA will review any input that has been submitted, said Jeff McDonald, who conducted the hearing for the EPA.
McDonald said the length of time the review takes will depend on the number of comments the agency has received. The final decision, which can be appealed by anyone who made a comment, will include a response to any of what the agency considers significant statements, he said.
The review is required in accordance with the Safe Drinking Water Act to regulate injection of fluids through wells. The agency has determined the proposed modifications would not adversely affect drinking water, so McDonald said the process of seeking public input could move ahead.
ADM plans to put 1.1 million metric tons per year of carbon dioxide from its ethanol plant in Decatur into the well each year for five years as part of its Industrial Carbon Capture and Storage project.
“We have been working closely with the EPA to answer questions throughout the permitting process and are here today to listen to the community's input,” ADM spokeswoman Jackie Anderson said. “Construction of the new well is complete, and we will finalize plans to begin injections after the EPA permit process is complete.”
The project is a continuation of carbon capture and storage research already under way. Anderson said 1 million tons of carbon dioxide is already permanently stored underground. The new project will produce even more valuable data and further reduce carbon dioxide emissions, she said.
Anderson said ADM has been working with the U.S. Department of Energy, Richland Community College and the Illinois State Geological Survey to capture important scientific and engineering data about carbon capture and storage technology and its future potential. She said it is being studied for its likelihood of significantly reducing carbon emissions from industrial sites.