An energy company proposing to lay hundreds of miles of pipeline in the southeast heard major backlash and some support for the project.
Money, oil leaks and jobs are just a few of the topics people on both sides of the Palmetto Pipeline Project discussed in a jam packed public hearing at Augusta Technical College in Waynesboro.
Some opponents said Kinder Morgan, the company proposing the project, is only about money.
“The only convenience is for the millions and millions of dollars that Kinder Morgan is going to make off of this pipeline, if it’s done. There is no necessity. We have quite a number of fuel oil companies in the state of Georgia,” the man said. “There is fuel coming in on boats in the Savannah harbor. There are distributors all over the state of Georgia. We know that there is no shortage of fuel.”
A supporter took to the podium and said, “I stand firmly for the pipeline ladies and gentlemen.”
Wall-to-wall Georgians from Burke, Chatham, Screven and other counties that might be impacted by the Palmetto Pipeline told the Georgia Department of Transportation why Kinder Morgan’s plan to lay 360 miles of pipeline across three states could be good and bad. But the company believes projected growth in Georgia will warrant more fuel.
Kinder Morgan Vice President Allen Fore spoke with News Channel 6 before the hearing and said, “Bringing in additional supply of anything generally has a positive impact on prices because it offers competition, it offers choices.”
Opponents approached the podium one-by-one to say ‘not so fast’ to a pipeline that would carry 150,000 thousand barrels per day (bpd) of refined petroleum such as gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel and ethanol.
“Last year, they reported that one of their pipelines had leaked some 8,000 gallons of fuel. That’s not true either because it was over 300,000 gallons that leaked out,” an opponent told the crowd.
“99.9999 percent of product reaches destination. 99.9999, but if something happens, what pipelines do is address those issues with the regulatory agencies that supervise cleanup,” Fore replied.
Some focused on truck drivers carrying fuel.
Operating Engineers Business Manager Allen Braswell works in Pooler, near Savannah. His group collected t-shirts during the meeting that stated ‘Palmetto Pipeline, Good For Georgia!’ He said, “Three young ladies from Georgia Southern College were killed in an accident on I-16 and the irony is a tanker truck was involved. I just feel like this would promote a lot of jobs in the state of Georgia and it would cut back on some of these incidents that are taking place on the highway.”
Waynesboro citizen Clara Dalbert said she has not seen a lot of information about the project, so she came to learn more. “I know that jobs are falling apart here. What will happen to those jobs for those individuals, for example, who drive trucks and they are no longer needed because of the pipeline.”
“I looked as I came in this beautiful campus. I didn’t see a single horse and buggy. I didn’t see a single hot air balloon. I did see diesel powered buses and gasoline operated automobiles,” a pipeline supporter said.
Fore added that the DOT comment period ends on May 19. After that, the agency will make a decision on the pipeline’s application for Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity.