Georgia says case hasn’t been made for Palmetto Pipeline

[private]Lawyers for the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) argued in court filings that Texas energy company Kinder Morgan has not made the case that its proposed $1 billion petroleum pipeline is a “public necessity” for the state’s consumers.

“Other than Petitioner’s desire to transport greater amounts of oil to the region, Petitioner has failed to show that there is any need regionally for another pipeline,” the lawyers said in their formal response to a lawsuit filed by Kinder Morgan.

Kinder Morgan sued GDOT and Commissioner Russell McMurry in Fulton County Superior Court after McMurry denied a request for a certificate of public necessity that would authorize the firm to use “eminent domain” to condemn private property along the pipeline route.

Kinder Morgan wants to build a 360-mile Palmetto Pipeline that would start at Belton, S.C., and transport petroleum products southward to Savannah before terminating in Jacksonville, Fla. The facility would cost an estimated $1 billion to construct.

The company says the pipeline will bring fuel directly to Augusta and Savannah and help ensure a sufficient supply of petroleum products in Georgia and the Southeast.

“We and our shippers remain committed to bringing an alternate source of supply to these markets, and we will continue to make every effort to reach mutually beneficial agreements with stakeholders,” a company spokesperson said.

Lawyers from the attorney general’s office disputed the company’s statements.

They argued that Kinder Morgan is relying on data from a 2010 report by the University of Georgia on motor fuel usage trends that was commissioned by DOT “for the premise that an increase in population growth will result in increased fuel consumption.”

“However, after approximately five years, this report has not proved accurate and has been contradicted by several later sources including but not limited to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the Georgia Office of Planning and Budget data, and the Federal Highway Administration’s MF-33 Tables,” the attorneys contended.

The response by Attorney General Sam Olens was drafted by Deputy Attorney General Wright Banks and Assistant Attorney General Mary Jo Volkert.

© 2015 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: attorney general , GDOT , Kinder Morgan , Palmetto Pipeline