Albany and Dougherty County, GA leaders meet to stop Sabal Trail

Polite complaints to FERC, even demands, aren’t working, not even from elected officials at every level, city (Albany), county (Dougherty), state (Georgia), and federal. Now they are escalating to demonstrations and flooding FERC with comments while getting in the news.

Tracey Smith, WFXL, 9 July 2015, Top leaders meet to stop the Sabal Trail,

For years local leaders have been fighting against the Sabal Trail pipeline and the compressor station set to be built in Albany and Dougherty County. Now it’s time for the final push against the project.

Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard, Georgia State Representative Winfred Dukes, County Commissioner John Hayes, Albany Commissioner Roger Marietta and other top leaders all got together in one room, for one reason: to stop the Sabal Trail from happening.

Their concerns range from air quality and health hazards to how close the pipeline is to the local water sources.

The leaders stressed that this isn’t just an issue for those who will have the pipeline and the compressor near their house. This should be a concern for everyone in the county and southwest Georgia.

It should be a concern for everybody in Georgia, the U.S., and the world. Why should a private company from some other state have legal power to force its way onto private property when all the local governments oppose it? Why should anyone in Georgia, including the taxpayers who will get stuck with the bill if it leaks or explodes, accept any of this risk for no benefit? Why should the fossil fuel industry be permitted to do this?

Especially now that Georgia is the fastest-growing solar market in the country? Now that even Georgia Power is selling rooftop solar power while building four 30 MW each solar farms at military bases plus 99 MW in Decatur County? Now that Georgia finally has a solar financing law that will make solar power grow even faster, with jobs right here where we need them, faster, cheaper, and far cleaner and safer than any pipeline?

“FERC needs to know that in Dougherty County and the state of Georgia that this is unacceptable for us,” said Representative Dukes. “People have to get involved in the process to let them know, to have their voices heard so that we can change this process.”

The pipeline is meant to be a connector from Alabama to Florida. But since Georgia isn’t benefitting from the pipeline, the leaders want to know, ‘Why Georgia?’

Back in November 2014 Georgia Representative Winfred Dukes, District 154, wrote to FERC saying

Based on all of the above. it does not require much of a leap to assume that SST is planning to take people’s private property for private profit by enabling one of its parent owners.

And now Sabal Trail has sued at least one local landowner in Dougherty County and unfortunately the judge allowed them to take that landowner’s private property right of keeping people out by permitting Sabal on the property to survey. Which is an obvious first step towards taking an easement for the pipeline.

Back in September, Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard wrote to FERC saying:

The citizens and city/county elected officials feel that there is a failure to look at other alternatives and respectfully ask that this project be put on hold until the concerns and questions have been addressed.

FERC did not do that.

This April, John Hayes and the rest of the Dougherty County Commission wrote to FERC saying none of their previous questions nor those by the U.S. EPA has been adequately answered, and:

Should Sabal Trail be unable with clarity to both adequately and substantially answer the suggestions posed by EPA, Sabal Trail’s application for a permit for construction should be denied.

This May, Mayor Hubbard and the entire Albany City Council wrote to FERC saying

We wish to point out a special feature that would justify FERC to deny use of the preferred route. Please accept this as formal expression of our concern for the City’s water supply. The close proximity of Sabal Trail’s preferred route to City’s well field is a risk to the citizens of Albany and Dougherty County. To deny the preferred route is the only way to protect the City’s water supply. We know of no detriment to Sabal Trail to use another route. Rather, use of another route would off-set harm to the City’ s water supply. In the end, the balance of interests clearly favors denying Sabal Trail’s preferred route. With respect, we feel it would be a misguided decision if Sabal Trail is allowed to use its preferred route.

Also this May, U.S. Congressman Sanford Bishop (GA-02) wrote to FERC enclosing the April Dougherty County and May City of Albany letters and concluding:

I believe that FERC should deny STT’s application for a Certificate of Public Necessity.

Last I looked (yesterday), FERC had not even published Rep. Bishop’s letter.

Now you can comment to FERC about Sabal Trail and that Albany compressor station.

And remember to sign the Petition to Georgia Governor Nathan Deal: Oppose Sabal Trail like you oppose the Palmetto Pipeline.

Then ask your elected and appointed officials to act.

Here are more things local, state, and national elected officials can do.

And you can stand up at the next demonstration and make some news.

No compressor station! No pipeline! Solar now.

-jsq

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