AUGUSTA, Ga. – Just a few days after a court decision set back Kinder Morgan’s plans to construct a pipeline through South Carolina and Georgia, legislation in both states protecting private property owners is inching closer to becoming law.
Since Kinder Morgan first announced its plans to build a pipeline through parts of Georgia and South Carolina, with the intention of using eminent domain, lawmakers in both states have worked to toughen laws that protect property owners.
“The fact of the matter is, even though we’ve had that issue come up with Kinder Morgan, the fact is, it’s really something that hasn’t been looked at since 1994 and 1995. So really it is something we need to look at because there are so many changes in the industry,” says State Senator Harold Jones.
In Georgia, House bill 1036 just passed, essentially freezing any plans to construct a pipeline using the threat of eminent domain.
“They’re just kinda putting in a holding process to just try to have a study committee look at how we handle eminent domain as fair as pipelines are concerned,” says Jones.
Jones says after that study, the bill will move into the Senate. In South Carolina, an eminent domain bill passed in the Senate Thursday, and is now heading to the House.
“If everything moves through, and let’s say we see it in a month, then it would go to the governor’s desk and she could sign it. So it could be a month, it could be 6-8 weeks,” says State Rep. Chris Corley.
Corley says the recent court decision, stalling Kinder Morgan in Georgia, gives South Carolina even more time to prepare.
“I think it does buy us some time, but at the same time, they’re pushing really hard in South Carolina. It could be that they want everything lined up in South Carolina if they can win in GA.”