Thursday, April 2, 2015

Public Input on Palmetto Pipeline

UPDATE 5/19/2015: The Georgia Department of Transportation denied the request made by Kinder Morgan to construct the Palmetto Pipeline.

The Georgia Department of Transportation held the second and last public hearing May 7, 2015, concerning the approval of an application made by a company named Kinder Morgan - in February 2015- to construct a pipeline that would send natural gas and or gasoline through the state of Georgia. Approval or rejection of the project will be made May 19.

“For many reasons this is a BAD idea, according to critics. Georgia needs first and foremost to protect our water and land resources from any possibility of contamination and exploitation. Although this company tells us they will provide jobs, the kind of jobs Georgia wants and needs are those that don't compromise the safety of our citizens and our resources.” Those were some of the comments during the hearing.

This pipeline will cross five rivers on it's way from South Carolina to Florida.

To send comments until May 15, these are some of the contacts:

Mike Bolden:
Don Grantham: 

Georgia Department of Transportation
600 West Peachtree St., NW 10th Floor Utilities Office, Atlanta, Ga. 30308

Don Grantham
PO Box 3145, Augusta, GA 30914-3145(706) 738-7786 | (706) 733-4741

Several Republican-led local governments and even Gov. Nathan Deal have made public statements against the Palmetto Pipeline project and Kinder Morgan, the company behind it. Many of the objections seem to be based in property rights values, against Kinder Morgan's land-grabbing tactics.

One favorable opinion made during the hearing in support of Palmetto Pipeline suggested that the approval should be made based in the mistrial of the public hearing. The person argued that since less than a quarter of the attendees don’t own land affected by the project, that fact only should be a strong reason to approve it. 

By WANDA pipeline for moving gas and diesel through Georgia will be devastating for local communities in East Georgia all the way to the coast.

In Burke County, the pipeline would traverse about 30 miles, unearthing soil that is already highly contaminated with radionuclides from Plant Vogtle and the Savannah River Site (SRS). 

Other issues related to the pipeline are the potential that it could rupture and land seizures. For these reasons, Georgia WAND is taking a stand against the Palmetto Pipeline. Georgia WAND Field Coordinator, Bernice Johnson-Howard, along with over 500 protesters, attended the DOT hearing for the Palmetto Pipeline. 

The Texas-based transportation company, Kinder Morgan, applied to the Georgia DOT for a permit that would allow the company to confiscate the private land of over 396 Georgians--under the pretense of eminent domain--in order to build the 210 mile pipeline.  

During the hearing, several lawyers contested the legality of Kinder Morgan's use imminent domain to gain control of land-owners' property for privately-held company profits. One after another, land owners expressed complaints that if built, pipelines would be shallowly buried (only 4 feet underground) and that landowners would still be obligated to pay property taxes on land that they could no longer legally use. Many were also doubted the DOT's sincerity in protecting citizens' interests.

The allotted 2 hour time frame for the DOT hearing did not allow all of the parties who had signed up to comment to do so. Some of the protesters' property has been in their family for hundreds of years. The second and final hearing on the Palmetto Pipeline is scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 7th at 5pm at Waynesboro Technical College.

Tell the DOT that Georgia citizens do NOT support the corporate welfare of Kinder Morgan's gas and diesel pipelines.  Please submit your written comments to: Ga. Department of Transportation, 10th Floor Office of Utilities, 600 West Peachtree St., NW, Atlanta, Georgia, 30308.

To join Bernice at the next pipeline hearing or get more info on Savannah area programming, contact GA WAND Field Coordinator, Bernice Johnson-Howard at or 706.831.2084.


The Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT) will hold a public hearing regarding the Palmetto Pipeline’s application to the DOT for a certificate of public convenience and necessity for a proposed petroleum pipeline. The project is expected to run from the Georgia-South Carolina border to the Georgia-Florida border. The hearing will be held April 21 at 5 p.m. at Richmond Hill City Center, 520 Cedar St. 

May 1, 2015, downtown Augusta, Georgia, one of several signs posted.
Written and oral comments will be accepted at the hearing. Written comments will be accepted until May 1 and should be submitted to: Georgia DOT, 10th floor Office of Utilities, 600 West Peachtree St., NW, Atlanta, GA, 30308.

Kinder Morgan is proposing the Palmetto Pipeline, which will allow the company to offer a new service to move refined petroleum products from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Collins and Pascagoula, Mississippi and Belton, South Carolina to North Augusta, South Carolina, Savannah, Georgia and Jacksonville, Florida. 

The system will have a design capacity of up to 167,000 barrels per day and will consist of a segment of expansion capacity that Palmetto will lease from Plantation Pipe Line Company between Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Belton, South Carolina. 

A new 360-mile pipeline from Belton, South Carolina to Jacksonville, Florida will also be constructed as part of the system.

The pipeline project would cross the Savannah River just downstream from Augusta and pass through the following 12 Georgia counties:

o> Richmond, 2 miles
Kinder Morgan: proposed Palmetto Pipeline project

o> Burke, 25 miles

o> Screven, 34 miles

o> Effingham, 39 miles

o> Chatham, 12 miles

o> Bryan, 7 miles

o> Liberty, 18 miles

o> Long, 2 miles

o> McIntosh, 17 miles

o> Glynn, 24 miles

o> Camden, 18 miles

o> Charlton, 12 miles

The pipeline would cross into Florida at the U.S. 1 bridge over the St. Marys River. The project is planned to be completed by 2017.

Kinder Morgan currently employs approximately 350 people in Georgia with a payroll of about $26 million, and pays approximately $16 million annually in state and local taxes. The company operates more than 3,000 miles of pipelines and five terminals in Georgia.

The company applied on Feb. 13 to the Georgia DOT for a certificate of public convenience and necessity, which would authorize it to condemn property along the 210 miles of the route in Georgia.

Six open houses run by Kinder Morgan has attracted many citizens concerned about the threat of eminent domain on their private property. A public hearing is needed to voice supporters point of view and people in opposition of the project, according to federal regulations.

GEORGIA SIERRA CLUB - Most people are familiar with the Keystone XL Pipeline, the proposed 875-mile oil pipeline that would an transport up to 830,000 barrels of dirty tar sands crude from Alberta, Canada to export facilities on the Gulf Coast. For the over two years, the Sierra Club has waged a campaign to urge President Obama to reject TransCanada's application to build KXL.

While the President has recently vetoed Congress's bill to force approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, he still must make his final decision to reject the pipeline once and for all.

For the Sierra Club, the fight over Keystone XL isn't just about a pipeline, it's about stopping the climate-destroying tar sands. However, the rejection of the KXL pipeline is one small part of a much larger battle: Around the country and here in Georgia, locals are fighting pipelines every day. The fight over these pipelines reflects the building tensions over which direction America’s energy future will take. There are better ways to produce energy that help our climate and do not put future generations at risk!

In Southwest Georgia, the Sabal Trail pipeline proposed by Spectra Energy would span 157 miles, and cross nine Georgia counties, four rivers, and three state parks. The pipeline, which is expected to cost $3 billion and would supply Florida Power and Light with natural gas, puts thousands of acres of environmentally sensitive wetlands, forests and meadows in danger.

The Georgia Chapter has joined forces with the Florida Chapter in order to oppose the pipeline.  Although Spectra has made the case for the new pipeline by suggesting that two existing natural gas pipelines into Florida are near capacity and that Florida Power & Light and Duke Energy will need more gas in the future, we believe it to be bad energy policy that endangers natural areas and property rights.

Both the Georgia and Florida Chapters have similar goals to encourage our utilities to ramp up renewables and energy efficiency instead of adding more natural gas power plants. The Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline is now in front of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Please contact your Congressmen and ask them to tell FERC that the Sabal Trail pipeline is unneeded. If they find that there is a need, then the current route should be changed to protect private property and health.

Our Savannah River Group (Augusta) and Coastal Groups (Savannah) have also been engaged in a battle to stop the proposed Palmetto Pipeline, slated to travel to Savannah and Jacksonville in order to transport gas, diesel and ethanol from South Caroline, Mississippi and Louisiana. The new 360-mile pipeline will parallel the Savannah River, putting the river at risk in the event of spills.

The Georgia Chapter has voted to oppose the proposed Kinder Morgan Palmetto Pipeline, with our primary concern being that the construction of this pipeline alongside offshore oil drilling could result in spills that devastate the Georgia coast, much like the BP Oil spill did to the Gulf coast of Louisiana.  The Push Back the Pipeline Coalition planned a rally for noon on April 18th during Savannah’s Earth Day Festival at Forsyth Park.

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