Georgia’s prized coastline – tranquil, quiet and peaceful – won a battle that was anything but. Thanks to a decision handed down from Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell Mc- Murry’s office, the proposed Palmetto Pipeline will be denied the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity that would have allowed energy giant Kinder Morgan to desecrate a wide swathe of the state’s beloved natural resources.
To build its pipeline across the Savannah River and down the Georgia coast, Kinder Morgan wanted to dig an enormous trench straight through nearly 400 properties in 12 of the Peach State’s counties. The $1 billion project would have routed gasoline, ethanol and diesel from the Gulf Coast and South Carolina to North Augusta, Savannah and Jacksonville.
When many of the property owners refused to allow Kinder Morgan to survey, the company tried to resort to eminent domain to secure the land it needed. However, because Kinder Morgan failed to prove, in accordance with Georgia law, that there is a public need for the pipeline, they’ll rightfully and justly be denied the ability to acquire interest in property against the will of the owners. The decision truly is an environmental victory for our region.
The Palmetto Pipeline drew opposition from every corner of Georgia, and even had conservative elected officials openly contesting the proposed defilement of the state’s pristine wetlands, marshes and waterways. Both Gov. Nathan Deal and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle came out against the Palmetto Pipeline and encouraged McMurry and the DOT to disallow it. Ogeechee Riverkeeper Emily Markesteyn praised McMurry for his decision, which clearly sends a message that Georgia absolutely will not stand for the destruction of its immaculate coastline. Now that the certificate has been withheld, Georgia law allows Kinder Morgan to appeal to superior court. If the company’s vice president, Allen Fore, holds true to a statement he issued before McMurry’s decision, an appeal is imminent, which means the fight is far from over. Ogeechee Riverkeeper urges everybody to continue to voice opposition to this project in the hope that the state’s coast remains the eastern seaboard’s undisturbed crown jewel.