Last night, while the Lowndes County Commission unanimously approved their resolution against the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline, the Valdosta City Council discussed a supporting resolution at its Work Session. Council Tim Carroll said Valdosta had added a clause about the Floridan Aquifer. Council Robert Yost said he didn’t think such a resolution was something the City of Valdosta should be doing, and he would not vote Thursday. No other Council members expressed any reservations. Council Sonny Vickers said he thought it was worth doing to show unity. Mayor John Gayle remarked, “We all live in Lowndes County.”
While the no benefit WHEREAS says “at this time”, note that neither Valdosta nor Lowndes County are customers of MGAG, so Sabal Trail’s agreement with the Municipal Gas Authority of Georgia (MGAG) would not provide any benefit to Valdosta or Lowndes County. Plus Moultrie wasn’t asked if it wanted any gas before that deal, and Moultrie is the county seat of Colquitt County, which isn’t an MGAG customer. The other of the two counties Sabal Trail claimed would benefit from the MGAG deal, Dougherty County, had already passed a resolution opposing the pipeline in that county or anywhere in the state of Georgia, as had its county seat Albany. Plus Terrell County. So “at this time” isn’t going to change any time soon.
Video to come. Meanwhile, here is the text of the resolution, courtesy of Valdosta City Council Tim Carroll. (PDF.)
Meeting: 12/11/14 05:30 PM
Department: City Manager/Mayor
Category: Position Statement
Prepared By: Teresa S. S. Bolden
Initiator: Teresa S. S. Boiden
DOC ID: 2117
Valdosta City Council
216 East Central Ave.
Valdosta, GA 31601
RESOLUTION NO. (ID # 2117)
RESOLUTION NO. 2014—
A RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF THE LOWNDES COUNTY
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS REGARDING THE SABAL
TRAIL PIPELINE PROJECT
WHEREAS, the City of Valdosta wishes to support the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners in the concerns they have expressed regarding personal property rights of citizens along with the limited use of right-of ”ways, while maintaining the responsibility for taxes and liability where the Sabal Trail pipeline is proposed to be located; and
WHEREAS, like the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners, the City of Valdosta does not oppose pipelines as the best way to move natural gas, oil, or other products that may be needed for the continued economic stability of our nation; and
WHEREAS, the City of Valdosta supports the concerns expressed by the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners for the safety of our citizens and children at Clyattville Elementary School who will be located near Sabal Trail pipeline, some which will be located within a potential blast zone in the event of a pipeline failure; and
WHEREAS, the City of Valdosta has concerns regarding any potential effect the proposed pipeline or its construction might have on the Floridan aquifer, the primary source of the drinking water supply for our City, County and the south Georgia area; and
WHEREAS, the State of Georgia, Lowndes County, and the City of Valdosta has not been shown to benefit from the availability of natural gas from the Sabal Trail pipeline to the City, County and State at this time; and
WHEREAS, Sabal Trail pipeline originates in the State of Alabama and will ultimately serve the State of Florida and without documented benefit to the State of Georgia, construction should by-pass the state of Georgia and the small area affected in Georgia could be easily avoided by bypassing the southwestern corner of the State; and
WHEREAS, the City of Valdosta has monitored various public discussions on this subject, some held by the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners, including discussions with affected property owners, and the overall burden to the property owners of Lowndes County who strongly oppose locating the Sabal Trail pipeline in Lowndes County;
NOW THEREFORE, be it resolved that the City of Valdosta supports the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners in their opposition to the construction of the Sabal Trail pipeline in any portion of Lowndes County. The City’s support includes concerns with fundamental property rights, the manner in which eminent domain might be utilized, and the lack of demonstrated benefit to the City and County. Furthermore, the City of Valdosta supports the Lowndes County Commission in their formal request to the Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC), and to State and Federal Legislators in the effort to have Lowndes County and the State of Georgia bypassed in the construction of the proposed pipeline.
SO RESOLVED, this _____ day of December, 2014.
John Gayle, Mayor
City of Valdosta
_____ Teresa S. Bolden, City Clerk
City of Valdosta