Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

June 30, 2013

Massive pipeline project may cross Lowndes

Landowners share concerns

VALDOSTA — Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC, a pipeline company owned by Houston-based Spectra Energy Corp, has contacted the City of Valdosta, Lowndes County and several residents regarding plans to build a massive interstate natural gas pipeline project.

The proposed pipeline will extend 465 miles from Anniston, Ala., traveling across Georgia (including Lowndes County) and terminating in Orlando, Fla. The project was proposed by Florida Power and Light Company (FPL) to provide dedicated natural gas services by May 2017.

Residents in Valdosta and across south Georgia have been informed of the project via letter and phone requests to survey private and public property for the construction of the pipeline. While 70 percent of the route will parallel existing right-of-way such as power lines, according to the company’s web site,  portions of it will cross private property.

While FPL has not officially awarded the contract for the project to Sabal Trail, the pipeline company

anticipates winning the contract by mid-July, and to begin the project soon after. The company has initiated these survey projects to meet scheduling requirements, which includes contacting landowners in the county, not all of whom are excited at the prospect of a pipeline on their property.

Residents concerned

In spite of the enormous scope of the project, at least one resident in Lowndes County is more worried than excited. Sabal Trail requested permission to survey land owned by Lowndes County Lamar Cameron, 84, who has no plans to acquiesce.

“I haven’t given them permission yet,” Cameron said. “I said I didn’t want him on my property. I don’t want him or anyone else on my property.”

Cameron’s greatest concerns are his personal safety, the security of his property, liability and certain endangered species he claims live in the wetlands portions of his land.

Sabal Trail plans to survey a corridor up to 600 feet wide during the design stages of the project, and will narrow the corridor to about 100 feet when the plans are complete, according to the web site.

Cameron believes this is too great a request, given that he already has other utilities crossing his land, he said.

“I don’t need some young squirt coming through and onto my land,” Cameron said. “I think I’ve had enough of giving people land and giving them an easement.”

To multiply his concern, the caller explained to Cameron that when the project is complete, Sabal Trail may elect to build branch pipelines from the main artery that would cross his property as well.

“You mean to tell me that you can go somewhere else on my land?” Cameron asked the caller, he said. “How many ditches are they going to dig before they get through with all their stuff?”

Other residents bordering his property were contacted as well, Cameron said. The letter states, “We believe this project will benefit the Southeast region by making available more natural gas supply and the new pipeline transportation facilities necessary to support the needs of other regional power generators.”

The City of Valdosta and Lowndes County were also notified by mail. The Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority was contacted with requests to survey a piece of land owned by the Authority.

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