Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

October 20, 2013

Lowndes residents oppose Fla. pipeline

VALDOSTA — Sabal Trail Transmission held an open house at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College last week to explain the Florida natural gas pipeline expected to run through South Georgia.

Sabal Trail had bulletin boards depicting aerial photos with the proposed 600-foot corridor mapped out with two red dotted lines running parallel to one another. In the center of these dotted lines, there was a brown line which highlighted an existing pipeline.

Sabal Trail initially proposed two routes called “Option A,” and “Option B.” Option B was a worst-case scenario route for Lowndes County because it split the county straight down the center. Sabal Trail has chosen to pursue the Option A route, which only intersects Lowndes on the lower westside of the county.

Andrea Grover, Spectra Energy public affairs representative, said that the pipeline has shifted more west to parallel an existing natural gas pipeline.

"Originally 'Option A' followed an existing overhead utility right-of-way, but now it has shifted more westward to follow an existing pipeline corridor. We wanted to move away from Valdosta city limits, now we're over 80 percent along an existing pipeline,” Grover said.

Sabal Trail Transmission is a joint venture of Spectra Energy Corp. and NextEra Energy Inc. In July, Sabal Trail was awarded a 465-mile interstate pipeline project by Florida Power & Light Company to transport more than 1 billion cubic feet per day beginning in Tallapoosa County, Ala., extending through Georgia, and ending at FPL's Central Florida Hub near Orlando. The gas will be transported through a 36-inch pipeline.

FPL wants the pipeline to be operational by 2017, so construction will begin in 2016. Trying to meet that deadline, Sabal Trail has already narrowed the route down to a 600-foot corridor. This is a survey corridor where the company will survey the entire route of the corridor, then it will narrow the placement of the pipe down a 100-foot construction corridor.

Property owners are concerned they will have two natural gas pipelines on their properties, as opposed to one.

One property owner was concerned because his 20-acre plot of land was in the middle of the corridor. During the meeting, he said, “I'm not too keen on sitting on top of another gas line; we already have one there.”

Another property owner was accompanied by her husband and her son-in-law, and she said that she felt as if she were being intimidated by the company.

She said, “It feels like they're telling us, 'either you accept this offer, or you'll get what you get,' and I don't appreciate that.”

Sabal Trail will have to be granted easement of the land to obtain a right-of-way before they can begin construction; they will have the right to use the land until they have finished installing the pipe and restoring the land. Then the land reverts back to its original landowner.

All property chosen by Sabal Trail will be appraised by an independent real estate appraiser provided by Spectra Energy, and based upon the appraiser’s market evaluation as well as other factors, they will determine the fair-market value to be used for negotiations, according to Spectra Energy's website.

Spectra Energy goes into every easement negotiation expecting that an agreement will be reached. However, in the event that an agreement cannot be reached, it can obtain the rights to easement by eminent domain through the Federal Natural Gas Act. Eminent domain will not be used as a negotiating tool, but only as a means of last resort, Spectra says.

Lowndes County Commissioner Demarcus Marshall was present at Wednesday's meeting. He told a few Lowndes County residents that the county would not support any eminent domain endeavors.

“The county took a stance that they will not be endorsing any of that company's actions. Myself, as well as other commissioners, are under the impression that it is up to the property owners to offer their property for the pipeline to come through. I haven't seen the letter yet, but I am hearing from some citizens that the letter is implying a threat, and that doesn't sit right with me,” Marshall said.


Text Only
Local News
  • EOM July 2014.jpg Sgt. Jonathan Yeargin Honored as July 2014 Employee of the Month

    Valdosta Mayor John Gayle and Fire Chief Freddie Broome honored Jonathan Yeargin as the July 2014 Employee of the Month at the July 10 City Council meeting.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Clay Griner.jpeg Griner wins Lowndes commission runoff

    A long nine-week runoff election between Clay Griner and G. Norman Bennett came to an end Tuesday night with Griner beating Bennett by 1,060 votes, with approximately 70 provisional ballots left to count.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140722-Runoff_Voting003.jpg State Senate District 8 too close to call

    The race for State Senate District 8 appeared too close to call as of The Times print deadline late Tuesday night.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Senate Georgia_Stew.jpg Perdue defeats Kingston in Georgia Senate runoff

    Businessman David Perdue has defeated longtime Rep. Jack Kingston in the Republican runoff for Georgia’s U.S. Senate nomination, setting up a matchup against Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn that will help determine which party controls the Senate for the final years of the Obama administration.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • County OKs $1.6 million for water-treatment equipment

    By a divided vote, the Lowndes County Commission approved spending $1,638,000 to purchase two pieces of equipment to improve the county’s water quality as per an agreement with the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

    July 23, 2014

  • Baytree Animal Hospital LB copy.JPG Animal hospital named Business of the Week

    Baytree Animal Hospital was named Leading Business of the Week by the  Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce for July 14.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gavel-courtroom.jpg Water treatment plant discussed

    The Lowndes County Board of Commissioners discussed purchasing two pieces of equipment for the Alapaha Water Treatment Plant and the Spring Creek System for a total of $1,638,000 during its Monday work session and is expected to vote on the issue tonight.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • education.jpg Charter school petition denied

    Both the Valdosta City and Lowndes County school boards unanimously denied the joint charter petition from Scintilla Charter Academy during their respective meetings Monday evening.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • echols_alapapa.jpg WWALS gets grant from river network

    The Willacoochee, Withlacoochee, Alapaha, and Little River Systems Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS) received a $500 Alapaha Water Trail Grant from the Georgia River Network

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140718-ARJim2.jpg Teacher at home anywhere in the world

    Variety is the spice of life. South Georgia is home to a diverse group of people, each with a unique life story. One man with glorious tales of travel and selfless volunteer work is Jim Kokoruda.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

Top News

School starts again in about two weeks. What do you think?

It's still summer. School starts too soon.
Seems like the right time to return.
Abolish summer recess. Make school year-round.
     View Results