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Day of action focuses on CT undocumented's healthcare needs; 7 jurors seated in first Trump criminal trial; ND looks to ease 'upskill' obstacles for former college students; Black Maternal Health Week ends, health disparities persist.

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Seven jury members were seated in Trump's hush money case. House Speaker Johnson could lose his job over Ukraine aid. And the SCOTUS heard oral arguments in a case that could undo charges for January 6th rioters.

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Fears grow that low-income folks living in USDA housing could be forced out, North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues, and small towns are eligible for grants to boost civic participation..

IL farm group wants improved safety measures for pipelines

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author Terri Dee, Anchor/Producer

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Friday, January 12, 2024   

A pipeline project to transport carbon dioxide captured from ethanol and fertilizer production to a permanent storage site in Illinois is raising concerns about safety and potential damage to surrounding land.

Last month, members of the Illinois Farm Bureau adopted policies supporting a temporary moratorium on the project until the Hazardous Materials Safety Administration can update its safety regulations. They include automatic notifications for pipeline leaks and training for emergency first responders.

Bill Bodine, the Farm Bureau's director of business and regulatory affairs, said his group opposes another condition.

"They expressed concerns about the use of eminent domain for these projects and do not support the use of eminent domain," he said, "and then want to see the developers reaching willing agreements, making some progress in reaching those willing agreements before the pipeline portions of those projects are approved."

Landowners are not willing to give up their land so easily. In 2006, the Illinois General Assembly passed a bill to limit the takeover of private property for private development. However, critics of the legislation have claimed it included exceptions that undermine any benefits to property owners.

Two more pipeline proposals to connect Iowa and Illinois are also being reviewed by the Illinois Commerce Commission, the agency that oversees these projects.

The Hazardous Materials Safety Administration hopes to have its safety revisions completed this year. If this happens, Bodine said, the Farm Bureau would lift its support of a temporary moratorium. But he isn't sure whether these other pipeline projects are on state lawmakers' minds.

"Our legislative session in the state of Illinois begins again in January and usually runs through the end of May," he said. "So, we may see some action during that timeline associated with some of these issues."

Developers say any future pipelines would help farmers by boosting the ethanol industry. The state Agriculture Department has said Illinois uses 274 million bushels of corn to produce more ethanol than any other state.


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