DOT decides against Palmetto Pipeline permit; court appeal expected

[private]The Georgia Department of Transportation said Tuesday it will not issue a permit that would authorize Kinder Morgan to proceed with construction of the proposed Palmetto petroleum pipeline.

“The Department has determined that it will not issue a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity,” Commissioner Russell McMurry said in a statement released by the DOT.

“The basis for the decision is outlined in our correspondence to Palmetto Products Pipe Line,” McMurry said, noting that seven public meetings and two public hearings were held on the proposal, along with DOT receiving 3,000 public comments by mail or online.

Houston-based Kinder Morgan is expected to appeal the DOT decision.

“We continue to believe in the viability of the project and its economic benefits to the Southeast region and Georgia in particular, and we plan to pursue all available options to move forward with the project,” said Ron McClain, the president of Kinder Morgan Products Pipelines.

“We believe that we have more than adequately demonstrated that this project is in the best interests of Georgia’s consumers, as it will result in lower costs and provide safer transportation of refined petroleum products to many areas in the Southeast, including specifically many communities in Georgia,” McClain said.

The proposed pipeline would carry refined petroleum products over a 360-mile route from Belton, S.C., to Savannah and then to Jacksonville, Fla.

Kinder Morgan was applying for a certificate of public necessity that would have allowed it to condemn private property, if necessary, along the proposed route. The next step would have been a review of the project by the state Environmental Protection Division, but that process was halted by DOT’s decision not to issue the permit.

Public opposition to the $1 billion project surfaced at several public hearings and Gov. Nathan Deal said he also opposed the pipeline, although the DOT is controlled by the State Transportation Board rather than the governor’s office.

© 2015 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: DOT , Kinder Morgan , Palmetto Pipeline , Russell McMurry