Why should Georgia landowners have to cede property rights to benefit nobody in Georgia, and at risk of our aquifer and environment? But Dougherty County residents are still playing NIMBY instead of trying to stop it entirely.
Carlton Fletcher wrote for the Albany Herald 7 September 2013, Local opposition to natural gas pipeline growing,
Dougherty County landowners who’ve been contacted by representatives of a group planning the 465-mile Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline projected to run underneath their property say they’re not convinced by assurances that the $3 billion project is safe.
And they’re preparing to challenge the pipeline even as project surveyors seek access to their land.
“This is not just a threat to my land, to our region’s water, to the environment and to my family’s safety,” one property owner said. “It’s a threat to what Albany is. This is a black nebula that threatens every person in this region.”
Houston-based Spectra Energy announced plans for the Sabal Trail Transmission pipeline, a joint project with Juno Beach, Fla.’s NextEra Energy Inc. and Florida Power & Light, in July. The project is expected to initiate in central Alabama’s Tallapoosa County and terminate in central Florida’s Osceola County. The 465-mile on-shore path of the pipeline, which will have the capacity to pump 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day, includes 55 miles in Alabama, 196 in Georgia and 214 in Florida.
The route proposed for the project would come through a large swath of Dougherty County.
The article has more details about opposition, and there’s even a quote from a Sabal Trail spokesperson, “early in the vetting process”, “potential corridor”, “listening to the landowners”. They should listen to this landowner response:
Some of those landowners, though, aren’t interested in talking with project officials. Roselyn Beasley Bridges, who owns property near the point where Mitchell, Worth, Colquitt and Dougherty counties share boundaries, said she’s tried to make that point clear to officials seeking permission to survey her land.
“My family has been on this land for seven generations,” Bridges said. “My mom and dad taught us that we are the caretakers of our land, and I feel if we don’t protect our land — protect our water and our ecosystem — we’re going to lose it. Every person in this region who turns on a faucet and gets a glass of pure, clear drinking water should thank God.
“And that, more than anything, is what I feel is at stake here.”
Here’s something different about Dougherty County:
Contacted about the language of Maidens’ letter, Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard said he would look into the matter further.
Imagine that! A county chairman actually looking out for the county!
And it seems Sabal Trail is already trying to use eminent domain. This part is pretty bad:
Dougherty Sheriff Kevin Sproul said he’s not received any complaints from landowners about the efforts of Sabal Trail representatives, but he confirmed that the company does have the right to survey privately-owned land, with or without permission, under Georgia law.
“I researched the section of the Code mentioned in the letter, and it looks like it’s pretty much black and white,” Sproul said. “Under Georgia’s eminent domain law, the right to exercise such power is granted. Landowners’ hands are pretty much tied.
“I would hope that our folks would, in the spirit of cooperation, allow this surveying to go on with no trouble.”
Asked what his office’s response would be if landowners refused access and ordered surveyors off their land, Sproul said, “I would hope it wouldn’t come to that.”
I think it will come to that. And I think it will be really bad publicity for the pipeline project.
Here’s something all the landowners in Georgia need to address:
“We understand that this pipeline is going to go through,” one said. “When there’s that much money at stake, it’s going to happen. But we want them to take a closer look at their pipeline route and find a way to impact fewer people. The approach needs to be more rural, not urban.”
But that argument, an official warned, poses another problem: “When you do that, you’re just putting your concerns on someone else.”
The pipeline doesn’t have to go through, and yes, it can be stopped. If enough of us want to stop it. And we should.