Received today. Note this says Georgia EPD does have authority over an air permit for the Albany compressor station. State agencies do have direct as well as indirect roles. -jsq
Sabal Trail Natural Gas Pipeline Threatens Air Quality in Southwest GeorgiaGreenLaw files comments objecting to proposed natural gas pipeline
Atlanta, GA — Last week, additional concerns were raised about a proposed natural gas pipeline that threatens to cut across large swaths of Southwest Georgia, including longleaf pine tracts. GreenLaw, on behalf of a number of conservation groups, filed comments with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA EPD) that raised objections about air quality along the pipeline, including a proposed compressor station outside Albany, Georgia.
Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC (Sabal Trail), a joint venture of Spectra Energy Corp and NextEra Energy, Inc., is proposing an approximately 500-mile long pipeline that will run from Alabama through Georgia to its final destination in Orlando, Florida. Although 196 miles of the pipeline would run through Georgia, Sabal Trail hasn’t provided any concrete plans to provide Georgia with natural gas. The Environmental Protection Agency has questioned whether the pipeline is needed given that Florida can already meet its projected energy demands by incorporating energy efficiency measures and using existing sources.
Not only will Southwest Georgia electricity users not likely benefit from the natural gas, the compressor station will threaten air quality. GreenLaw presented evidence that the pipeline would be a major emitter of nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, and other air pollutants. This pollution causes a wide variety of health problems that can lead to hospitalizations and emergency room visits. “Georgians shouldn’t have to breathe dirty air and suffer negative health consequences because Florida wants a new pipeline,” says Ashten Bailey, GreenLaw Air and Energy Law Attorney. “Sabal Trail is a bad idea from start to finish.”
The GA EPD will determine if the air permit for the compressor station should be granted. The state agency will review the comments filed and either approve the permit as requested, make revisions to it before approving, or deny the permit outright.
Additional concerns have been raised about the pipeline in other forums, centering on conservation issues as well as private property rights. Southwest Georgia is known for its extensive tracts of longleaf pine that have been protected from development for conservation purposes, including habitats for endangered species like the gopher tortoise and Eastern indigo snake. In addition, Sabal Tail has been seeking permission to enter upon the land of private landowners, who have raised objections to the negative impacts the pipeline will have on the use and enjoyment of their property. Executive Director Stephanie Stuckey Benfield states, “GreenLaw wants to insure that these beautiful tracts of longleaf pine are preserved for future generations. Sabal Trail’s application for an air permit should be denied, and this entire project should be scrapped.”
For citizens interested in following the progress of the pipeline, please visit greenlaw.org to sign up for newsletters and read additional information.
GreenLaw is a Georgia-based nonprofit law firm serving environmental and community organizations that have been adversely impacted by pollution. Since 1992, GreenLaw has achieved these goals by providing free, high-quality legal and technical assistance to environmental organizations and community groups throughout Georgia. For more information, visit www.greenlaw.org and follow @greenlaw_GA on Twitter.
Stephanie Stuckey Benfield Ashten Bailey firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com 404-659-3122 404-659-3122