AUGUSTA, GEORGIA – Legislation that could postpone the Palmetto Pipeline project is headed to the Governor’s desk.
If Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signs House Bill 1036 the billion dollar project will be temporarily suspended until June 2017. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the Georgia House passed a measure that puts a temporary moratorium on companies building petroleum pipeline by giving them the ability to use Eminent Domain.
House Bill 1036 was inspired by Kinder Morgan’s proposed pipeline that would run from Florida to South Carolina.
AUGUSTA, GEORGIA – The passing of a new bill could postpone a billion dollar project until 2017.
On Tuesday, Georgia House of Representatives will vote on House Bill 1036 that will temporarily suspend all activity on the Palmetto Pipeline.
WJBF News Channel 6’s Stefany Bornman spoke with local representatives about the about the restrictions the new bill will have on the project.
After a last-minute amendment House Bill 1036 passed through the Georgia Senate. Although, the House had already approved a version of the bill on Tuesday they have to consider the Senate’s amendments. Those new amendments will allow Kinder Morgan to apply for environmental permits during the 13-month suspension.
Kinder Morgan continues its efforts to construct the Palmetto Pipeline spanning from South Carolina to Florida despite legislation in Georgia and South Carolina aimed to stop the 360-mile long project.
“Right now that is the big question. Is whether the pipeline meets Eminent Domain?” South Carolina State Representative William Clyburn told WJBF News Channel 6.
If passed, Georgia House Bill 1036 would stop the Texas-based company from forcing landowners to give up their property. State Representative William Clyburn says the big concern for landowners is only getting minimal compensation for their land.
“They don’t give you, the cost, they will not give you what you think your property is worth.” Clyburn said.
While a similar bill is currently being reviewed in the South Carolina Senate, the District 82 State Representative says the purpose of passing this legislation is to make it fair for both the landowners and Kinder Morgan.
“We’ve been getting mixed-emotions. We have heard quite a bit about those who do not want to sell and we’ve heard of those who don’t mind selling as long as they are getting the proper amount,” said Clyburn.
For environmental conservation groups, like the Savannah Riverkeeper, the suspension to the gasoline pipeline construction through Eminent Domain is a step in the right direction.
“This bill would offer protection to Georgia landowners from Eminent Domain abuse by private companies. Which we believe is reserved for the government,” said Savannah Riverkeeper Communication Director Elena Richards.
If amendments have to be made, being so close to the end of session, there’s a chance House Bill 1036 won’t be passed until next year.