AUGUSTA, Ga. – Plans for a pipeline that would run through parts of the CSRA officially halted Wednesday. Kinder Morgan, the company proposing the Palmetto Pipeline, says their decision comes after unfavorable actions by Georgia lawmakers.
“What it does is it puts a moratorium on any new petroleum pipelines from being done as far as eminent domain is concerned. So number one, you can’t build any of course, you can’t even apply with the Department of Transportation,” says State Senator Harold Jones.
Sen. Jones says the law essentially suspends any type of pipeline construction until a committee can do more research into the issue.
“What they’re going to look at is they’re gonna balance the interest between pipeline companies and land owners. They’re going to look at how technology has changed as far as building pipelines,” says Jones.
But news of the suspension didn’t sit well with Local 150 Plumbers and Steamfitters Union member Moses Todd.
“It could have meant jobs for pipe-fitters and pipe liners. It could have meant jobs for operators and engineers and it would have meant jobs for insulators, so there’s a lot of jobs lost here or delayed,” says Todd.
In response, Savannah Riverkeeper Tonya Bonitatibus says, “If you talk to the truck drivers, it’s the exact opposite story.”
Bonitatibus says as many as 500 truck driver jobs would have been lost because of the pipeline.
“So that’s a big difference between the ones that would have come in with the pipeline,” says Bonitatibus.
Union members say fewer tankers on the roads makes it safer for everyone else on the highways.
The suspension of construction only lasts until June of 2017. From there, lawmakers could enact a new law making it harder for pipeline companies to construction.
Kinder Morgan has also placed a hold on its air quality permits through South Carolina’s DHEC as well.