Getting big controversial pipelines built, like the Dakota Access and Keystone XL, is one of President Donald Trump’s priorities. But in Georgia there’s a moratorium on building petroleum pipelines while state lawmakers review regulations.
The state legislature instituted the moratorium and created a state commission on pipelines after private property owners and environmentalists opposed a now-shelved petroleum pipeline on the Georgia coast. Lawmakers are especially looking at rules around pipeline companies using eminent domain to build on private property.
“When you talk about eminent domain, you get into people’s emotions, their property, passed down from generations to generations,” said state Sen. Rick Jeffares, a Republican from McDonough. He’s a co-chair on the pipeline commission. “We had one guy, you know, he had three of four easements already through his property. Power lines, gas lines. He was not very happy. I think he said they’d owned that property since 1812.”
Suggestions from the pipeline commission include allowing property owners to appeal eminent domain decisions, giving the state more time and money for environmental reviews and extending the moratorium and the life of the commission for two years, while lawmakers work out details of any proposed laws.
“We’re not in a hurry, so we’re going to try to get this right,” Jeffares said.
This covers only those pipelines that carry petroleum. Natural gas pipeline decisions are up to the federal government, and in Georgia, there’s a controversial natural gas pipeline that’s under construction now. The Sabal Trail Pipeline would carry natural gas from Alabama, across southwest Georgia, to Florida.
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