• When: May 7, 5 p.m.
• Where: Augusta Technical College campus auditorium, Waynesboro
• Visit: www.kindermorgan.com/business/products_pipeline/Palmetto. You can find Push Back the Pipeline on Facebook or visit pushbackthepipeline.com.
A controversial pipeline project won’t be getting permission to access county property for a survey.
Effingham County commissioners voted unanimously to deny access to surveyors for the proposed Palmetto Pipeline, which is projected to run 360 miles from Belton, S.C., to Jacksonville. The route may cover 39 miles in Effingham, the longest-single stretch in any county along the planned path.
Commissioners still had a bevy of questions about the pipeline and the route it may take through Effingham.
“We’re having the same conversation as a landowner sitting at their dinner table, asking these same questions,” said Commissioner Phil Kieffer.
Signing the request to survey would not have meant the commissioners were giving approval to the pipeline coming through the county.
“But if we don’t grant permission, it tells them we are not happy with the way it’s going,” said Chairman Wendell Kessler. “I would say, I’m not signing it.”
County Administrator Toss Allen said the pipeline would not be run through the Staffordshire and Greystone subdivisions but would be re-routed along Blue Jay Road. However, the county also has received two different maps on properties that could be on the projected route. The company initially sought to survey county-owned property, rights-of-way and detention ponds, in Winfield, Greystone and Staffordshire subdivisions, along with the county fire station on Highway 275. The surveys will be civil, environmental and cultural or archaeological.
“And they never tell us what’s happening,” Kessler said. “First off, we’re on the defensive and we’ve got nothing to do with it.”
Commissioner Forrest Floyd said one property owner, who spoke out against the pipeline in a public meeting earlier this month, already has had his land surveyed.
“They’ve already surveyed people’s property. They surveyed Alan Zipperer’s property,” Floyd said. “They accidentally surveyed his property without his permission. They did apologize after the fact.”
Melissa Ruiz, a spokesman for Kinder Morgan, said that instance is the only one that has been brought to the company’s attention.
“One of our workers located the Cypress pipeline, which already runs through this landowner’s property, by mistake,” she said. “The worker was there to mark the pipeline for future survey work without realizing that the landowner did not grant access for our work on this tract. The confusion on our end was due to the fact that the landowner had granted access on another piece of his property, but not the area that our worker accessed. We halted our work, explained the mistake and apologized to the landowner.”
Kinder Morgan, the company asking the state Department of Transportation to grant approval for the pipeline, held five public meetings across counties where the pipeline would go. It held another meeting in Effingham at the request of commissioners, and the state DOT conducted a public hearing last week in Richmond Hill. Nearly 600 people, almost all in opposition to the pipeline, turned out to Richmond Hill City Center for the event. Another public hearing on the pipeline is scheduled for Waynesboro.