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McLean County ZBA postpones carbon sequestration hearing to find a larger venue

Colin Hardman / WGLT
The McLean County Zoning Board of Appeals met Tuesday night to discuss carbon sequestration wells, but a large public turnout in a small meeting room prompted the board to postpone the hearing to a later date to secure a larger venue.

The McLean County Zoning Board of Appeals met Tuesday night to discuss a controversial change regarding carbon sequestration wells, but decided to postpone the session to a later date to secure a larger venue to accommodate more members of the public.

Renovations to the boardroom at the Government Center downtown have necessitated a number of substitute locations for meetings normally held there. The work is expected to be completed around Oct. 16.

That issue set the stage for Tuesday night’s meeting in another smaller, tightly-crowded room, with zoning board members seated just feet away from more than a dozen members of the public.

It was clear, as the board noted, that it would be difficult to hold the hearing in the space available.

The board announced the hearing would be postponed to Oct. 24, reasoning a delay to find a larger venue would be the best answer given the apparent desire of many members of the public to attend.

Before the meeting, advocacy group Illinois People’s Action (IPA) had several members ready to speak in opposition to the proposal.

The code changes being considered would outline the county’s regulations on carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestration wells, a technology designed to contain the climate change-fueling substance by drilling down and injecting it deep into the earth. The idea has raised concerns from many, including IPA and local officials like Normal Mayor Chris Koos.

One major point of contention is the potential for contamination to the Mahomet Aquifer, a source of water for many in the region, including the Town of Normal.

Colin Hardman is a correspondent at WGLT. He joined the station in 2022.
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