Ga. Water Coalition’s annual “Dirty Dozen” commends state for opposition to Palmetto Pipeline

By David Pendered

The Georgia Water Coalition used the release Wednesday of its annual “Dirty Dozen” list of threats to water quality to commend Georgia for denying a permit to facilitate construction of the Palmetto Pipeline.

Dirty Dozen, 2015

The Georgia Water Coalition commends Georgia for opposing the proposed Palmetto Pipeline, and cites what it calls 12 “worst offenses to Georgia’s waters.” Credit: Georgia Water Coalition

“It’s something to celebrate,” Joe Cook, advocacy communication coordinator at the Coosa River Basin Initiative, said in a teleconference with reporters. “GDOT’s action, and the Deal administration’s support of that action, earned that issue special recognition.”

The importance that the Georgia Water Coalition places on the Palmetto Pipeline is evident in the annals of the “Dirty Dozen.” This is the first year since the program started, in 2011, that the coalition delivered a specific kudo for a state action on water quality issues.

In the “2015 Dirty Dozen,” the Georgia Water Coalition cited public protests against the pipeline and the actions of the state’s two top elected officials:

  • “The uproar reached to the highest levels of state government and in May, Gov. Nathan Deal and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle publicly opposed the project. Less than two weeks later, the DOT ruled that Kinder Morgan failed to prove the need for the project and denied the company the right to use eminent domain to acquire land for the pipeline route. “

The Georgia Department of Transportation refused in May to grant pipeline developer Kinder Morgan, Inc. a certificate of public need, which the company will need if it is to be able to condemn any of the 400 or so parcels of land it needs to bury the proposed 360 mile pipeline to transport refined petroleum products between Jacksonville, Fla. and Belton, S.C.

Another proposed pipeline, the Sabal Trail Pipeline, is ranked No. 11 on the “Dirty Dozen” list.

The proposed Sabal Trail Pipeline earned the 11th position on the 2015 "Dirty Dozen," for its proposal to pipe natural gas from Alabama to Florida through environmentally sensitive areas. Credit: spectraenergy.com

The proposed Sabal Trail Pipeline earned the 11th position on the 2015 “Dirty Dozen,” for its proposal to pipe natural gas from Alabama to Florida through environmentally sensitive areas. Credit: spectraenergy.com

The Sabal Trail Pipeline is proposed to be about 515 miles long. Its purpose is to deliver up to 1 billion cubic feet each day of natural gas to Florida, according to its website. The gas is to fuel one or more power stations owned by Florida Power and Light, and a power station that’s been proposed in Citrus County by Duke Energy of Florida, according to another of its website.

According to the “Dirty Dozen” report, the Sabal Trail Pipeline is to installed beneath three rivers – Withlacoochee, Flint and Chattahoochee. It is to be built above the Floridan Aquifer, which the report says provides more than 600 million gallons of water a day to homes and businesses.

Three Georgia Democrats in Congress have urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reject the proposal. The pipeline’s website says its status is in “regulatory review.” If it wins approval, the pipeline is scheduled to deliver gas in May 2017, to meet Florida Power’s needs.

Here’s the complete list of waterways cited in the 2015 edition of “Dirty Dozen:”

  1. Cooper Creek: Timber Harvest to Muddy Mountain Streams;

    No Palmetto Pipeline

    Savannah-area residents joined a protest rally against the Palmetto Pipeline in April. In May, Gov. Nathan Deal ssaid the state would fight the proposed pipeline. File/Credit: richmondhillsreflectionslive.com

  2. Georgia’s Stream Buffers: Confusing State Law Leaves Some Streams Without Protection;
  3. Chattahoochee River: EPD Water Grab Threatens Health of State’s Most Critical Water Supply;
  4. Georgia’s Hazardous Waste Sites: Toxic Legacies Pose Public Health Risk;
  5. Chattahoochee River: Chattahoochee Tubers’ Trash Draws Ire of Riverfront Landowners;
  6. Altamaha River: Rayonier Pulp Mill Fouls Altamaha; State Allows Pollution to Continue;
  7. Georgia’s Coast: Offshore Drilling Poses Threat to Coastal Tourism, Fisheries;
  8. Coosa River: Power Plant Killing Fish on the Coosa;
  9. Little Satilla Creek & Penholloway Creek: Strip Mine Threatens Property Values, Water in Wayne County;
  10. Bear Creek: Reservoir Deal in Newton County a Boondoggle for Taxpayers;
  11. Withlacoochee River and Floridan Aquifer: Gas Pipeline Invasion in Southwest Georgia Risks Drinking Water;
  12. Georgia’s Groundwater: Legislative Inaction Leaves Well Water At Risk.
Palmetto Project map, detail

This map provides greater detail of the proposed route of the Palmetto Project, a fuel pipeline. File/Credit: Kinder Morgan

Palmetto Project map

The proposed Palmetto Project would provide a pipeline from a fuel trunk line in South Carolina through North Augusta, S.C., Savannah, Brunswick, and Jacksonville, Fla. File/Credit: Kinder Morgan

 

 

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

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